Top 12 Seminars from Homebrew Con 2019

By Matt Bolling, American Homebrewers Association

Homebrew Con 2019 in Providence, RI, featured educational seminars from over 100 speakers. The seminars were presented in 12 different tracks based on their content. Homebrewers who attended the conference voted on their favorites, and here are the top-rated seminars in each of the 12 conference tracks.

You can check out comments and ratings for each of the top seminars in each track below. Be sure to check out all of the seminar recordings for this year, and every year since 2012, in the Homebrew Con seminar archives.

Homebrew Con 2020 will be in Nashville, TN, June 18–20, 2020. Seminar proposals will open October 10, 2019. Submit your proposal on the Homebrew Con website.


Mead from 70 to 1750 CE: Inspirations and Lessons from 2,000 Recipes on Ingredients, Methods, and Styles

Speaker: Laura Angotti  |  Track: Alternative Fermentation  |  Score: 4.9/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Very enjoyable…makes me want to spend hours talking to her and making mead.”
  • “Best presentation of the day!”
  • “This talk was a nice break from other technical discussions, but still provided plenty of info that will be useful. It was a treat for the speaker to share the results of so much research.”

Explore more Alternative Fermentation seminars.


In Gourd We Trust: An In-Depth Look at the Style, History, and Brewing Techniques for Pumpkin Beer

Speaker: Adam Boyd  |  Track: Beer Styles  |  Score: 4.7/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Inspired me to brew a pumpkin ale ASAP.”
  • “Adam is a wonderfully talented orator. His presentation was both informative and humorous. Well done!!!”
  • “Excellent seminar, definitely going to try brewing a pumpkin beer this year. #squashthehaters”

Explore more Beer Styles seminars.


Beer School: Homebrew Tips from Brewing College and Pro Brewer Experience

Speaker: James Czar  |  Track: Brewing Process  |  Score: 4.4/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Brother James was really entertaining and easy to listen to!”
  • “Great content. A must see for all conference participants.”
  • “Very informative. Great presentation style. Nicely done!”

Explore more Brewing Process seminars.


How to Facilitate a Club Barrel-Aging Program and Produce Quality Beer

Speakers: A. De Boer, T. Bye, M. Johnson  |  Track: Clubs & Competitions  |  Score: 4.7/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Excellent topic. Never thought of that. Gave our club great ideas for our management of barrels.”
  • “Purchased two barrels and am starting a barrel program for our club because of this panel.”
  • “Great content!”

Explore more Clubs & Competitions seminars.


DIY Advanced Technology for Cheapskate and Anarchistic Homebrewers

Speakers: A. Tipler, P. Margraff  |  Track: Do-It-Yourself  |  Score: 4.8/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!!!”
  • “Brilliant ideas and easy to follow instructions for making these gadgets.”
  • “Although I am not technically inclined, I feel I could take on some of these projects with help from this seminar.”

Explore more Do-It-Yourself seminars.


So You Want To Be a Pro Brewer: Are You Crazy!?

Speaker: Michael Ferguson  |  Track: Going Pro  |  Score: 4.9/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Crazy seminar! It was mind blowing! Amazing content and even better delivery!”
  • “The best seminar of the conference. Presenter was amazing, information was detailed and useful. This was everything I was hoping for for the 1 hr duration.”
  • “Exceptional seminar. Wish I could attend an entire day seminar with him on this topic.”

Explore more Going Pro seminars.


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Medieval Gruit Ales Reconstructed: New Theories about Old Beverages

Speaker: Susan Verberg  |  Track: Historical  |  core: 4.9/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “A very nice presentation of very interesting materials. The historical connection and deep research were very informative.”
  • “Great research-based talk. Let’s never mis-pronounce Gruit ever again.”
  • “Very informative and left me wanting to go learn more.”

Explore more Historical seminars.


Everyone’s Second Favorite Liquid: Basic Water Comprehension for Homebrewing

Speaker: John La Polla  |  Track: Ingredients  |  Score: 4.7/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Kept it simple enough to take some mystery out of water. Water is my learning priority for this year and this seminar helped a bunch!”
  • “Great info. Helped me clarify my questions with water chemistry. Love this.”
  • “The lecture was fun and dove into WHY more so than HOW. I found it informative.”

Explore more Ingredients seminars.


Ask the Experts Panel

Speakers: D. Beechum, J. Palmer, B. Smith  |  Track: Other/Misc.  |  Score: 4.6/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Good discussion on yeast and water!”
  • “Really good to hear the experts.”
  • “This was a great panel. Lots of great info shared.”

Explore more Other/Misc. seminars.


More Smoked Beer! Using Oak-Smoked Wheat Malt for More Than Grätzer

Speaker: Larry Reuter  |  Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement  |  Score: 4.8/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Fun and informative and gave me a new perspective on a brewing method I have been intentionally avoiding.”
  • “One of the best! Inspired me to explore smoked grain brewing. Thank-you!”
  • “I have been inspired to try some smoked malts.”

Explore more Recipe Formulation & Improvement seminars.


The Deductive Beer Tasting Method: A Method to the Sensory Madness

Speaker: Rich Higgins  |  Track: Sensory Analysis  |  Score: 4.3/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “The specificity of the content and usefulness was outstanding”
  • “Great speaker, great content. This presentation will drive me to dig deeper into sensory analysis.”
  • “Packed full of value!”

Explore more Sensory Analysis seminars.


Physiology of Alternative Yeasts and Bacteria: How to Use Unique Organisms to Emphasize Flavors in Beer

Speaker: Matthew Humbard  |  Track: Yeast & Fermentation  |  Score: 4.9/5.0

What Homebrew Con attendees had to say:

  • “Wow! Exactly what I was looking for. Covered a complex subject in a very understandable way.”
  • “Good deep dive into co-fermentation and how alternative yeasts and bacteria can clean up each other’s metabolites.”
  • “Interesting information to use in getting more out of my fermentations.”

Explore more Yeast & Fermentation seminars.


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