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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: kylekohlmorgen on October 13, 2011, 02:46:34 PM

Title: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on October 13, 2011, 02:46:34 PM
I LOVE to read about and research brewing. Techniques, history, styles, brewing science; anything that will either make me a better brewer or give me more of an appreciation for the craft.

I would like to concentrate these efforts into a tool that will help other brewers accomplish the same goal. Whether it be a book, a series of magazine articles, or another form of published material, I believe there is still a lot of knowledge out there that can be collected, distilled, and presented in a way that will help the homebrewing community to make better beer.

What specific brewing topics do you wish you knew more about? Have you read any Zymurgy/BYO articles that could be researched in more detail?

Please share your thoughts!

Here are a few ideas I have:

- Brewing science topics presented in a no-nonsense, applicable manner: water chemistry (with simplified salt addition tools), multi-step mash (tied to techniques with various mash setups), wild yeast fermentation and sanitation.

- Revitalizing historical styles (an expansion of some of Randy Mosher’s publications)


- Historical/unusual brewing techniques and their application to homebrewing: partigyle, “capping”, sparging with 1st runnings,  decoction, turbid mash, mashing unusual ingredients, long/short/no boils, hopping (Mash, FWH, in-between KO and dryhops), krausening, creating cask ale

- Misc. stuff: Creating your own style, making recipes your own,  creating beer for friends/parties/non-beer drinkers, utilizing techniques from the wine/spirits industry, homebrewing to go pro, using new ingredients, improving homebrew by drinking craft beer.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: morticaixavier on October 13, 2011, 02:51:10 PM
how about growing and malting barley?
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: davidgzach on October 13, 2011, 03:22:07 PM
how about growing and malting barley?

+1. 

Also, my neighbor is gluten intolerent.  I can't find any sorghum malt, only extract.  We were thinking about trying to grow some and malting it ourselves.  That would be a great topic for me as well as how to buy sorghum.

Dave
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: Jimmy K on October 13, 2011, 05:50:20 PM
Also, my neighbor is gluten intolerent.  I can't find any sorghum malt, only extract.  We were thinking about trying to grow some and malting it ourselves.  That would be a great topic for me as well as how to buy sorghum.

Dave

Sorghum is a cane (like sugarcane), not a grain. It is pressed to extract juice and then the juice is boiled to to make syrup, so you can't do 'all-grain' sorghum beer.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: morticaixavier on October 13, 2011, 06:00:49 PM
Also, my neighbor is gluten intolerent.  I can't find any sorghum malt, only extract.  We were thinking about trying to grow some and malting it ourselves.  That would be a great topic for me as well as how to buy sorghum.

Dave

Sorghum is a cane (like sugarcane), not a grain. It is pressed to extract juice and then the juice is boiled to to make syrup, so you can't do 'all-grain' sorghum beer.

sorghum is both a cane and a grain. the sap from the cane is boiled to make sorghum molasses but the seed of the sorghum can also be malted, mashed and fermented into a beer. Much lighter flavour and can be used as 100% of the grist whereas sorghum molasses is too strong a flavour for that.

as can quinoa, amaranth (although those tiny little seeds are a PITA to deal with) and several other grains. Really any seed or grain can, in principal be malted and mashed. You can malt and mash peas or beans even. Not sure what that would taste like.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: theoman on October 14, 2011, 01:31:38 PM
sorghum is both a cane and a grain. the sap from the cane is boiled to make sorghum molasses but the seed of the sorghum can also be malted, mashed and fermented into a beer. Much lighter flavour and can be used as 100% of the grist whereas sorghum molasses is too strong a flavour for that.

as can quinoa, amaranth (although those tiny little seeds are a PITA to deal with) and several other grains. Really any seed or grain can, in principal be malted and mashed. You can malt and mash peas or beans even. Not sure what that would taste like.

Fascinating. Now there's a topic I'd read about.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: tomsawyer on October 14, 2011, 03:22:54 PM
I'd like to see some decent research on fermentor geometry.  You get such dramatic differences between the time and temp optima of microbreweries vs homebrewers that there has to be something going on there.  It could include some discussion of fermentor head space in a hombrewing context as well.  You'd have to do the research first though.

And for the record, Strong brought this up in his recent book and I know its been discussed casually on forums in the past.  I don't think theres anything definitive in terms of experiments though unless its dealing with commercial scale operations.

Another topic I think would be fun to broach would be blending beer.  Its something I do occasionally at home to produce additional variety or correct a slight flaw in a brew.  I've even used wine before, and I'm sure there are those who spike with spirits like bourbon to simulate bourbon barrel aging.  I think you could come up with enough permutations of the numerous styles to fill a small text.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: euge on October 15, 2011, 07:47:14 AM
Blending beer. +1!

I've been working on this myself, and it seems that there is little out there on the subject.

Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: dimik on October 15, 2011, 11:40:06 PM
I'm pretty sure my LHBS carries sorghum malt.

I'd like something on water chemistry, beer blending, and yeast culturing. All in scientific style and in depth without fluffy swirls and basic brewing intro taking up half the book. I realize, however, that such books would have about 5-10 people reading audience and thus would never get printed.
Another thing I'd be interested in are traditional/historic/dead beers. Again, no brewing intros for novices. I want info on brewing practices, ingredients, fermentation procedures etc. Such book sounds plausible so maybe someday I can get my hands on decent information about Norwegian smoked malts and gruits made with them.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: tomsawyer on October 16, 2011, 03:02:05 AM
Just got to a section in Strong's book and saw there is some info on blending beer, haven't read it but like all good original ideas its been thought of before.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: Gribble on October 16, 2011, 09:05:20 AM
I definitely agree about getting in to some of the more advanced stuff without the nonsense.  Blending beer, yeast culturing, different equipment setups and techniques
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: james on October 16, 2011, 07:29:30 PM
I'd like something on water chemistry, beer blending, and yeast culturing. All in scientific style and in depth without fluffy swirls and basic brewing intro taking up half the book. I realize, however, that such books would have about 5-10 people reading audience and thus would never get printed.

Have you seen Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White (http://amzn.to/pN0bG8)? It covers yeast culturing and a whole lot more on yeast.

I'm pretty certain I read that John Palmer is working on a book all about water chemistry
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: denny on October 16, 2011, 08:24:58 PM
I'm pretty certain I read that John Palmer is working on a book all about water chemistry

Actually, John and Colin Kaminski.  Technical editing by Martin Brungard and A.J. deLange.  Should be a killer!
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: james on October 16, 2011, 08:44:06 PM
I'm pretty certain I read that John Palmer is working on a book all about water chemistry

Actually, John and Colin Kaminski.  Technical editing by Martin Brungard and A.J. deLange.  Should be a killer!

Awesome, can't wait. 
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: ukolowiczd on October 17, 2011, 12:54:02 AM


Have you seen Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White (http://amzn.to/pN0bG8)? It covers yeast culturing and a whole lot more on yeast.

Has anyone read this book? I've been wanting to buy it but worried about how much "intro to brewing" stuff would be in it.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: dimik on October 17, 2011, 02:13:29 AM
I'd like something on water chemistry, beer blending, and yeast culturing. All in scientific style and in depth without fluffy swirls and basic brewing intro taking up half the book. I realize, however, that such books would have about 5-10 people reading audience and thus would never get printed.

Have you seen Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Jamil Zainasheff and Chris White (http://amzn.to/pN0bG8)? It covers yeast culturing and a whole lot more on yeast.

I'm pretty certain I read that John Palmer is working on a book all about water chemistry


I've heard that the yeast book is very intro level with LOTS of basic brewing intro and barely anything worthwhile for people who've done cell work in real labs, so I never had the courage to dish out 20 bucks for something that's potentially useless.
Does anyone have more concrete info on it?
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: tschmidlin on October 17, 2011, 04:59:50 AM
I have it but haven't read it.  That said, yeast culturing is not that complicated.  Read through this page and you should be well on your way.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/yeast-propagation-and-maintenance-principles-and-practices

If you have any specific questions, post them here and I'll help.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: ukolowiczd on October 17, 2011, 08:46:16 PM
I have read recommendations on Amazon.com about the yeast book and that's what I thought - a basic intro book which is not what I want. Thanks for the link to the yeast page. I haven't read it yet but I'm not really looking into improving my yeast culturing. I want to know how microbreweries keep "house strains". They must put them under a microscope and culture them from there, but how can they differentiate b/w the yeast they want and other yeasts/bacteria and isolate them. I just don't really get that. I mean does anyone not buy yeast from wyeast/white labs b/c they maintain a steady house strain?
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: dimik on October 17, 2011, 09:08:59 PM
I have it but haven't read it.  That said, yeast culturing is not that complicated.  Read through this page and you should be well on your way.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/yeast-propagation-and-maintenance-principles-and-practices

If you have any specific questions, post them here and I'll help.

Thanks for the link. I think that page has more useful info than what I hear the yeast book has.
I'd like to think that my yeast culturing skills are more or less alright and I can maintain strains and blend as I like, but what I'd like is a body of information, like primary literature, on yeast strain properties, morphologies, defining traits, metabolic differences etc. You know what I mean? That's why such publications wouldn't appeal to homebrewers.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: tschmidlin on October 17, 2011, 10:06:32 PM
I have read recommendations on Amazon.com about the yeast book and that's what I thought - a basic intro book which is not what I want. Thanks for the link to the yeast page. I haven't read it yet but I'm not really looking into improving my yeast culturing. I want to know how microbreweries keep "house strains". They must put them under a microscope and culture them from there, but how can they differentiate b/w the yeast they want and other yeasts/bacteria and isolate them. I just don't really get that. I mean does anyone not buy yeast from wyeast/white labs b/c they maintain a steady house strain?
A lot of breweries store their house strains with wyeast/white labs, and get fresh pitches as needed.  They will generally repitch as many as 7-20 times, and since they split it after each batch that can account for a lot of batches.  Most breweries don't do any culturing at all.

There are a number of tests you can do for your strain of choice, and you get used to that strains performance and can tell when it is deviating from what you expect.  But you can do viability staining and look under a scope, sure.  For contaminants, looking under a microscope is not the best way to go.  A very small portion of bacteria or wild yeast can have a significant effect on the finished beer, and it could easily be overlooked when it is in the beginning stages of contamination.

Another thing you can do is plate it and look at the colonies.  Colony morphology can tell you a lot about the health of the culture, and even the smell of the plates can vary quite a bit between different strains.

Obviously I don't know what every brewery in the country does, but the ones around here tend to do what I've mentioned above.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: tschmidlin on October 17, 2011, 10:16:11 PM
I have it but haven't read it.  That said, yeast culturing is not that complicated.  Read through this page and you should be well on your way.

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/yeast-propagation-and-maintenance-principles-and-practices

If you have any specific questions, post them here and I'll help.

Thanks for the link. I think that page has more useful info than what I hear the yeast book has.
I'd like to think that my yeast culturing skills are more or less alright and I can maintain strains and blend as I like, but what I'd like is a body of information, like primary literature, on yeast strain properties, morphologies, defining traits, metabolic differences etc. You know what I mean? That's why such publications wouldn't appeal to homebrewers.
If you're talking about the differences between 1056 and 1084 for example, your best source of info is the lab that sells them.  If you're talking more about morphological differences between brett and sacch for example, there are resources but they can be hard to find or they tend to get pretty pricey if their compiled into a book.

And you're right, they don't really appeal to homebrewers.  The Journal of the Association of Brewing Chemists doesn't usually have articles like what you're talking about, and some of it hasn't been studied much.  I agree it's frustrating. :-\

This is a really good book that seems to have gotten a lot more expensive than when I got it . . . it has some of the info you're looking for.
http://www.amazon.com/Brewing-Microbiology-F-G-Priest/dp/0306472880/
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: roguenationpatriot on October 17, 2011, 11:12:11 PM
Blending beer. +1!

I've been working on this myself, and it seems that there is little out there on the subject.



   I was just at a lecture with Gordon Strong over the weekend, and he talked a bit about blending beers to offset the ph of one beer with another.  To be honest, it hadn't really occurred to me that a bad could be saved by mixing the right blend.  It was process that I always just associated with wines and meads.  I plan to sit and work with blending on a regular basis now, but I figure it will take some time before I'll do it well.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: James Lorden on October 18, 2011, 03:54:08 PM
Blending beer. +1!

I've been working on this myself, and it seems that there is little out there on the subject.



   I was just at a lecture with Gordon Strong over the weekend, and he talked a bit about blending beers to offset the ph of one beer with another.  To be honest, it hadn't really occurred to me that a bad could be saved by mixing the right blend.  It was process that I always just associated with wines and meads.  I plan to sit and work with blending on a regular basis now, but I figure it will take some time before I'll do it well.

I don't think the intention of blending should be to save a bad beer as much as it is to create something that could not have otherwise been made or to fine tune.  A bad beer blended with a good beer = wasting good beer to create mediocre beer.
I make a hefewiezed where I ferment half the batch with WLP 300 at a higher temp and the other half with WLP 380 at a lower temp.  When I blend these two together I feel like I get an expression of banana and clove that is more pronounced.
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: davidgzach on October 18, 2011, 06:24:14 PM
I'm pretty sure my LHBS carries sorghum malt.

What is the name?  I have not been able to find it anywhere.  You sure it's not extract?
Title: Re: Homebrew Book Topics
Post by: roguenationpatriot on October 18, 2011, 07:01:50 PM
I don't think the intention of blending should be to save a bad beer as much as it is to create something that could not have otherwise been made or to fine tune.  A bad beer blended with a good beer = wasting good beer to create mediocre beer.
I make a hefewiezed where I ferment half the batch with WLP 300 at a higher temp and the other half with WLP 380 at a lower temp.  When I blend these two together I feel like I get an expression of banana and clove that is more pronounced.

      I agree that the objective is to make the best beer possible.  The reason we were discussing in that manner is that we did a tasting session of a beer with a low ph that still had some potential to be greatly improved with some blending.  It would nice to only have to deal with good beer in blending, but I would say if you can save a entire batch by adding a little extra you might be able to come out with two good beers.  Anyway, I can see where your coming from, but I think it's a good idea to keep an open mind to blending a bad beer in certain situations.