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!

Obscure and Ancient Beers

  • Speakers: Geoff GroffMark Pangle
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Do you want to know what Finnish Sahti is and how it is made? Are you familiar with Steinbeer, a German method of brewing beer with heated stones? Join homebrewers Geoff Groff and Mark Pangle as they discuss some of the more obscure as well as older beer styles and …More

Pair Like A Pro-Palate Trips and Pairing Practices

  • Speaker: Julia Herz
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Homebrewers are not just into beer, you’re also into food! Fellow foodies unite in this seminar breaking down the complex topic of pairing. We’ll talk about beer and food pairing principles, along with palate tricks and tips garnered through years of tasty research.

Practical Brewing for Better Beer

  • Speaker: David Houseman
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Excellent beer can be made by beginner homebrewers with simple equipment and 10 simple steps to making better beer. By avoiding the most common faults in homebrewing, homebrewers using extract malts on their kitchen stoves can produce high-quality beer. This seminar’s tips will enable beginner to intermediate homebrewer to improve …More

Putting Some Numbers on First Wort & Mash Hop Additions

  • Speaker: David Curtis
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

First wort hopping is a method many homebrewers use with the idea that it adds a smoother bitterness and a unique flavor contribution to their beer. Mash hopping is avoided by many brewers because it is commonly thought to be a waste of good hops. David Curtis of Bell’s Brewery’s …More

Really Understanding Honey

  • Speaker: Ken Schramm
  • Track: Ingredients
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Honey is a remarkable substance: it’s hygroscopic, has intense osmotic pressure, weighs in at a specific gravity of 1.425, and can remain edible for centuries without preservative measures. This seminar explores honey’s composition, varieties, key flavor and aroma elements, handling, acquisition, and the metabolic details of honey fermentation. It addresses …More

S. eubayanus: Practical Brewing Knowledge with the Father of Lager Yeast

  • Speaker: Bret Baker
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Have you ever wondered, like many homebrewers, where lager yeast originated and if it can be used to make good beer? Join Bret Baker as we delve into a recent discovery made in Patagonia by Diego Libkind for a lesson in biology, history and practical brewing applications with the father …More

Scaling Hops: A Comparison of Homebrew & Commercial Utilization

  • Speakers: Eric BeanFrank Barickman
  • Track: Ingredients
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

This talk will compare both the technical and perceived differences between homebrew and commercial hop utilization, hop flavor and aromas. We’ll look at several beers made both commercially and homebrewed using the same wort and hops, varying the hop additions. Lab comparisons documenting the bittering units will be presented along …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

The Homebrewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer

  • Speakers: Paul LanglieRon Pattinson
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Raise a glass to vintage beer! Treat yourself to a tour through time with beer historian/author Ron Pattinson of the blog Shut Up about Barclay Perkins. Ron will share brewing history and representative recipes from 1800 to 1950, from his new book, The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer. Ron …More

The Influence of Mashing on Sour Beer Production

  • Speaker: Michael Tonsmeire
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

The characteristics of sour beers are influenced less by the flavors contributed directly by the malt and more by the ways in which compounds in the wort influence the mixed fermentation. Join Michael Tonsmeire as he discusses practical techniques to control the levels of carbohydrates, acids, phenols, and proteins and …More

The Malt Nerds History Hour

  • Speakers: Andrea StanleyJohn Mallett
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Humans have been malting grains for use in brewing for many thousands of years. In relative terms, large-scale, industrial operations are recent developments. Prior to the 20th century, most malt was hand made by artisans—often unencumbered with science—who mainly assessed and controlled this natural process by touch, taste and smell. …More

The Shenanigans of Barrel Aging

  • Speakers: Brett KosmickiJason Heystek
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Founders Brewing Co. has been aging beer in bourbon barrels since 2001. This seminar will discuss our process of selecting barrels and the beers to age, with particular attention focused on high-volume brands KBS and Backwoods Bastard. The growth of Founders barrel program from a single barrel to the thousands …More

Top 10 Legal Mistakes Start-Up Breweries Make

  • Speakers: Candace L. MoonEsq.
  • Track: Going Pro
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

For homebrewers planning to open a commercial brewery, there are numerous legal steps that should be taken to help protect yourself and the business. Without knowing what you need to do, it can be very easy to run afoul of the law. This seminar will discuss some of the most …More

Using Spirits Barrels and Blending Sour Ales in Wood

  • Speaker: Brett Vanderkamp
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

New Holland Brewing Company founder Brett Vanderkamp will discuss his history with barrel aging and the development of New Holland’s signature barrel-aged beer, Dragon’s Milk. Drawing upon his experience as a distiller and founder of New Holland Artisan Spirits, Brett will also discuss the many uses of spirits barrels and …More

Water Chemistry and Beer pH

  • Speaker: John Palmer
  • Track: Technical
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Join John Palmer, author of How to Brew, Water and Brewing Classic Styles, as he dives into the subject of brewing water. Topics include the effect that brewing water chemistry has on mash pH, beer pH and beer flavor. Seminar attendees will sample two beers from the same recipe that …More

Yes, Funky Sour Meads

  • Speaker: Michael Fairbrother
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

The sour beer world has exploded, but what about sour meads? In this seminar you will learn about using Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces and other funky tricks to make specialty meads that are tart and dank. Michael will share what he has learned about what works, what doesn’t, how much time is …More

A Simple Fermentation Monitoring and Control System

  • Speakers: Murthy TataSachin Pannuri
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

We present a simple approach to monitor beer and other alcoholic fermentations continuously and non-invasively using carbon dioxide evolution. CO2 evolution rates are used to estimate alcohol production and extract consumption in a continuous manner with simple and relatively inexpensive instrumentation (Fermentation Automation Technology, FermAT). The technique can be used …More

Alternative Wood Aging Techniques

  • Speaker: John Gasparine
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Did you know that wood has been used as a flavoring in modern beer since the 1700s? Yet most of us mistakenly believe that wood was historically used in the brewing process for form and function only—not flavor or aroma. Did you know that there are an estimated 100,000 species …More

Because Not Every Beer Is Stone Enjoy By: Preserving Hop Aroma

  • Speaker: Stan Hieronymus
  • Track: Ingredients
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Stone Brewing Co. notes that Stone Enjoy By is brewed not to last, loaded with hops at the back end—using a technique some call “hop bursting”—and heavily dry hopped. It’s full of hop aroma that is destined to fade, which is why Stone puts the enjoy by date in big …More

Beer Recipe Design

  • Speaker: Brad Smith
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

This talk offers a structured approach to beer recipe design, starting with a target style and walking through research, selection of ingredients and application of brewing techniques to create a great beer recipe. We’ll review examples of recipe design as well as cover some of the newer techniques brewers are …More

Beers of Our Founding Fathers

  • Speaker: Frank Clark
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

What were our founding fathers drinking? Learn about the beers and brewing methods of the 18th century. Join food and beer historian Frank Clark of Colonial Williamsburg for a fascinating look back at old beer styles and some of the pleasures and pitfalls of trying to recreate historic beers.

Biochemistry and the Mash

  • Speaker: Larry Horwitz
  • Track: Technical
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Larry Horwitz covers carbohydrate structre, enzymes, hydrolysis and protein in this presentation.

Blame the Maltster: An Overview of Malting Operations and How They Influence Your Beer

  • Speaker: John Mallett
  • Track: Ingredients
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

As brewers, we understand that malt provides the base and backbone of beer flavor and fermentability. Because we have a lot of options when it comes to malt, understanding how they are produced can influence what we choose to use. This talk will explore influencing factors such as barley selection …More

Brewing Better Beer: Practical Applications

  • Speaker: Gordon Strong
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Join author Gordon Strong as he discusses how to apply favorite reader tips from Brewing Better Beer. Understand the decisions and reasoning used to create two new all-grain recipes. Learn the approach, not just the recipes, as you see how your target beer preferences impact the decisions you make throughout …More

Brewing Chemistry 101: pH and Buffering

  • Speaker: Bob Hall
  • Track: Technical
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

This talk will cover basic brewing and water chemistry. Much of the chemical knowledge needed to understand how water affects brewing can often be daunting. However, words like pH, hardness, alkalinity, temporary hardness and residual alkalinity can be simplified once brewers understand the dual concepts of pH and buffers and …More

Brewing with Induction

  • Speaker: Joshua Weikert
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Few brewers use electric heat to boil—and frequently transition to propane when the opportunity arises —and many are missing out on the benefits of electric induction elements, either as a primary or secondary source of boil heat. Induction is cost-effective, efficient and safer than traditional electric elements or propane/LNG jet …More

Building a Walk-In Cooler

  • Speaker: Will Minderhout
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

Build your own walk-in cooler and do it on the cheap. This talk will outline how I built a 10’x4’x6′ space for approximately $150, via Craigslist and eBay. While it won’t be easy to repeat this cost, it can be done. Styrofoam makes up the majority of the supplies needed …More

Cider Revolution: How to Brew Great Cider from Everyday Ingredients

  • Speaker: Chris Banker
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

We are in the midst of a revolution in cidermaking and many homebrewers are still not aware how easy it can be to make outstanding ciders with inexpensive, easy to acquire ingredients. This talk will discuss proven methods for making excellent fruit and specialty ciders from commonly available ingredients, using …More

Colonial Brewing Practices and Beers with Historical British Influences

  • Speaker: Bob Grossman
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2013
  • Philadelphia, PA

The freedom-seeking settlers were influenced by their dependency on fermented beverages, a necessary alternative to the tainted water supplies in England. They brought with them a great appreciation for alcoholic beverages, a perspective derived from a long brewing tradition founded in folk wisdom, herbal pharmacopoeia and lore, political leadership and …More