Homebrew Con Seminars

Homebrew Con is an annual event hosted by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). The conference includes dozens of seminars on beer, mead, and cider. Join the AHA to gain access to Homebrew Con seminars dating back to 2012. You won’t find a resource like this anywhere else!

Oxidation Effects in Beer

  • Speaker: Gordon Strong
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2019
  • Providence, RI

There are hundreds of compounds in beer that change as it oxidizes. Simple sensory descriptions of oxidation often focus on a limited set of effects, particularly those common to pale lagers. However, oxidation effects over time are much wider in the full range of beer styles. Grandmaster beer judge Gordon …More

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

  • Speaker: Rich Higgins
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2019
  • Providence, RI

Learn more from tasting the beer you brew! Join Rich Higgins, Master Cicerone and former brewmaster, to learn a method that lets you “look under the hood” and understand every beer you taste. Rich’s Deductive Beer Tasting Method builds upon the framework of aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, and overall impression …More

All About That Base: Learning More About Malt Through Sensory Analysis

  • Speaker: Jen Blair
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2018
  • Portland, OR

Brewers will learn the basics of sensory analysis, including a brief overview of the hot-steep method, and an overview of malt and the malting process. The presentation highlight will be a guided 30-minute malt sensory tasting session incorporating craft malt from around the United States, wherein participants will have the …More

Beer and Food Pairing Principles

  • Speaker: Jay DeLong
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2018
  • Portland, OR

Join Jay DeLong to examine the versatility of beer as it pairs with food. This talk discusses the primary beer-pairing factors as well as some general pairing guidelines. Primary emphasis will be on finding balance in both the beer and the food and how they can enhance each other. Pairing …More

Inside IPA: Exploring Hop Essential Oils

  • Speaker: Pat Fahey
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2018
  • Portland, OR

Ever wondered what people mean when they say a beer smells “catty?” Or what myrcene actually smells like? In this session, we’ll taste through several of the key essential oils that drive hop flavor and learn a bit about basic hop aroma chemistry along the way!

The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing

  • Speaker: Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2018
  • Portland, OR

Mead is an incredibly diverse beverage category with the potential to create sublime food pairings. This talk introduces mead styles, discusses food-pairing strategies, and offers tips on how to develop meads specifically to pair with meals at home.

Common Beer Off Flavors and Fixes

  • Speakers: Amaey MundkurPat Fahey
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2017
  • Minneapolis, MN

Learning to properly identify common beer off flavors is essential to improving your beer and your ability to judge. Come taste several of these unwelcome flavors—including diacetyl, dimethyl sulfide, acetaldehyde, and isovaleric acid—as we cover information about their formation and teach you ways to make sure that they don’t end …More

Evaluate Your Beer Like a Master Judge

  • Speaker: Gordon Strong
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2017
  • Minneapolis, MN

Learn practical methods for assessing the aroma and flavor of your homebrew, exercises for developing your palate, and the techniques beer judges use to assess beer in amateur and professional competitions. Lean the structured tasting process, how to read and apply style guidelines, and how to evaluate beer for technical …More

Pairing Beer: How Does Your Palate Approach, Taste, and Pair Beer?

  • Speaker: Adam Dulye
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2017
  • Minneapolis, MN

Taking a sip of beer might seem as common as a blue sky, but what is the first thing you think about when you taste it? In this seminar, we will dive into the two main palate approaches to tasting beer, discover how each defines a pairing, and learn how …More

Blind Tasting: Sensory Development for the Homebrewer

  • Speaker: Sean Coughlin
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Removing preconceived bias from sensory evaluation will make for a more powerful learning/tasting experience. We will focus on sensory description along with the triangle test and how it can be used by the discriminating homebrewer.

Brewing up a Perfect Pairing: Research-Backed Food Pairing Principles

  • Speakers: Pat FaheyRandy Mosher
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

The Beer and Food Pairing Working Group is engaged in standardizing the body of knowledge used to assemble awesome beer and food pairings by creating research-backed pairing principles. Come learn about what information already exists, participate in a pairing exercise, and find out how you can help further the research …More

Food & Beer Pairing

  • Speakers: Adam DulyeGreg BrownSean Clark
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Take pairing your home-brew to the next level. This seminar will cover the how and the why food interacts with beer and what ingredients can best do both in the beer and the food to the pairing. From pairing your own homebrew for a dinner at home to dining out …More

Not Just for Judges: How to Train Judges, Brewers and Tasting Gurus at the Same Time

  • Speakers: Brian JoasBruce Buerger
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

We will demonstrate how the sensory analysis and technical knowledge obtained through judge training can also be beneficial for brewers and craft beer fans. We’ll review over proven techniques and show how they can be used in large and small group sessions. Taste malt teas, hop teas, malt varieties while …More

Sensory Evaluation of Specialty Malts: A Practical Approach to Describing Malt Flavors

  • Speaker: Bob Hansen
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

When it comes to choosing the best specialty malt for your brewing recipe, flavor contribution is one of the most important factors to consider. Whether you are looking to improve consistency or enhance creativity, sensory analysis of malt ingredients is a practice that will serve you well. This presentation will …More

Sources of Beer Flavor and the Importance of Sensory Training in Producing Great Beer

  • Speaker: Amaey Mundkur
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Sensory evaluation is an important tool for the homebrewer, as access to expensive lab equipment or testing is not typically possible. Sensory training is a powerful, inexpensive way of producing high quality beer at home. Understanding the source of beer flavor allows the homebrewer to the most powerful tool at …More

Sensory and Flavor Training for Brewers

  • Speaker: Pat Fahey
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2015
  • San Diego, CA

A brief introduction to taste physiology and techniques for assessing beer will be followed by a guided tasting through several of the most common brewing-related off flavors found in beer. In addition to tasting these flavors, participants will learn the most common causes of these flavors, along with tips on …More

Tasting Beyond the Scoresheet

  • Speaker: Rich Higgins
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2015
  • San Diego, CA

Beyond drinking beer and beyond judging beer lies tasting beer. Truly tasting and evaluating beer is an exploration into the soul of a beer and the mind of the brewer. The best beers take you to a time and place and let you get to know the brewer and culture …More

What a Proper Pairing Can Do for Your Beer

  • Speakers: Adam DulyeGreg BrownSean Clark
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2015
  • San Diego, CA

Tasting a beer when pairing to food is different than tasting to evaluate beer style. This seminar will cover how food interacts with beer and how to approach tasting beer when pairing to food. From pairing your own homebrew for a dinner at home to dining out on the town …More

Evaluating and Judging Beer

  • Speaker: Jamie Floyd
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Jamie will begin this seminar by teaching the sensory technique for evaluation that is used in sensory labs as well as for judging. He will then discuss sensory evaluation in the commercial brewery and at home, and finish with a discussion of judging homebrew competitions. If you have ever wanted …More

Sensory Evaluation: Methods to Improve Your Palate and Vocabulary

  • Speakers: Brian JoasBruce Buerger
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

All brewers use sensory evaluation as at least the primary, if not only, method to analyze their beer and determine how to improve it the next time they brew. For many, the palate sensitivity and/or vocabulary to evaluate and describe a beer is the limiting factor in determining how to …More

Stepping Up Your Sensory Game: How to Be a Better Taster

  • Speaker: Kara Taylor
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

The necessity of being able to accurately describe your beer, whether you’re a judge or simply an aficionado, cannot be overstated. As the community continues to grow exponentially, homebrewing competitions are popping up around the globe, requiring more and more qualified judges. We will discuss topics including the identification of …More

The Science of Beer Flavor

  • Speaker: Roger Barth
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Join West Chester University Chemistry professor Dr. Roger Barth as he discusses the science behind what you taste when having your favorite brew. In this presentation, Roger breaks down what the anatomy of flavor really is, from taste and aroma to the mouthfeel and flavor threshold of your beer. Go …More

Beer Tasting

  • Speaker: Ted Hausotter
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2012
  • Bellvue, WA

In this seminar, Ted will explore the nuances of tasting beer, the wide range of perceivable flavors, how to taste and ways to improve your tasting ability.

Focus on Flavor

  • Speaker: Nicole Erny
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2012
  • Bellvue, WA

We enjoy fermented products because of the amazing depth of flavors they present, including many compounds that we can detect at parts per billion and less! Many homebrewers and BJCP judges reach a plateau in their ability to describe beer, relying on borrowed phrases and expectations rather than their own …More