Keg Blending: Waste Not, Want Not.

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beer on tap keg

American Homebrewers Association member Norm Ryder sent in his tip on getting the most out of every beer batch brewed. Do you have homebrewing tips or stories you want to share with the community? Let us know!

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I like to brew a few kegs-worth of beer on my brew days. Typically I make two batches per brew day, and sometimes I’ll brew a single, large batch that goes into multiple kegs. This process helps make the most of my brew days and keeps my kegs full!

One day while kegging my homebrew, I had a eureka moment. “Why am I dumping a half gallon of beer after filling each keg? Why not add the leftovers to a keg and create up to 2.5 gallons–about 12-24 free pints per session–and see what happens?”

By blending the leftovers in the fermenter of two or more different beer recipes in a keg, I can create some delicious and unique flavor surprises while cutting down on the amount of potential beer wasted.

The process can be as simple as adding the remnants of each batch to a keg and letting fate decide the outcome of the flavor. Alternatively, you can pull a sample from each batch and measure quantities for a “mini-blend.” Once you have the ratios, scale up for the available volumes. Measuring gives you more control over the flavor.

In either case, practice your standard racking best practices where you avoid bringing sediment and yeast into the keg.

For example, I’ve had great success combining a Kolsch with an Irish-style red, and my Mocktoberfest blended with an English-style bitter is sure to please. One of my favorites was combining a bourbon stout with a partigyle bourbon stout and serving it on a nitro tap. Blending similar styles can make for an exciting beer while still being a focused style.

What’s better than getting some extra beer and reducing your waste? And if it turns out the blend is not to your liking, then you know you gave it an honest effort and can relinquish it down the drain. But, on the other hand, if it turns out great, you now have a way to get more beers out of your batches.

If you don’t have beer ready to keg, you can have fun experimenting with blending at the tap. Like the “black and tan” beer style where you pour a stout and bitter in one glass, you can try any combinations to intentionally plan for blending. Cheers!

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