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!

Identifying and Avoiding Oxidation

  • Speaker: Brian Berquist
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Oxidation causes more than just cardboard flavors. Learn how oxidation affects all parts of the brewing process, including malt and hops, and causes a variety of off flavors. Come away with tips and tricks to avoid oxygen in your processes.

Launching a Communal Sours Program

  • Speaker: Andy Gamelin
  • Track: Clubs & Competitions
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

In this discussion we will focus on the practical and social aspects of developing a successful sours program within your homebrew club and techniques that can be used to ensure the production of high quality sour beers. Areas of focus will include communal brewing, scaling yeast and bacteria, fermentation, blending, …More

Mock Lagers: Cutting Contentious Corners

  • Speaker: Sam Burligame
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Space and time are major constraints for most things in existence, but they are at a particular premium for homebrewers! Save both of them by leveraging the benefits of modern malts, high Alpha hops, and any available refrigeration, which allow homebrewers in the here-and-now to tweak traditional style-specific brewing techniques …More

Modern Homebrew Recipes

  • Speaker: Gordon Strong
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Gordon Strong will take an advanced look at recipe design, discussing the creative process and technical approach to building new homebrew recipes. Practical examples will be given, including a look at styles from the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. Trace ideas from concept through execution, including adjusting for balance, brewing to …More

Modern Mead

  • Speaker: Ricky the Meadmaker
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Mead has been made since prehistoric times, but just because something’s ancient doesn’t automatically mean it’s good. Come meet Ricky the Meadmaker to learn why you don’t need to wait more than a month for excellent mead, why science is as important in mead as in beer, and why all …More

Modern Perspectives on Traditional Methods: Applying New Knowledge To An Ancient Craft

  • Speakers: Malcolm FrazerMashall Schott
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Just a couple decades ago, those who chose to make beer at home were met with many hurdles: a general lack of quality ingredients, proper gear, and knowledge about many aspects of brewing. Though stories of contamination, diacetyl bombs and undrinkable beers abound, we have these brave early homebrewers to …More

More Than a Hobby: Developing Club Leadership to For Long-Term Club Success

  • Speaker: Sean Wolfe
  • Track: Clubs & Competitions
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Many clubs start the same, it’s not formal, it’s a group of friends, and no one is formally in charge. One person or a small group drives the club, and all is good. Fast forward a few years and now you have regular, structured meetings of 50+ people, members who …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

Phenolic Compounds in Beer: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  • Speaker: Mike Lentz
  • Track: Technical
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Phenolic compounds play a major role in the aroma and flavor of many beers. They are often associated with beer spoilage, but also contribute positive and essential characteristics to certain beer styles, such as Bavarian weizen and many Belgian styles. What makes “good” phenolics good, and “bad” phenolics bad? The …More

Regional American IPA: What’s Up with All the Crystal Malt?

  • Speakers: Carrie KnoseFavio GarciaPaul Sangster
  • Track: Beer Styles
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

This seminar will discuss the differences among East Coast, West Coast and Midwest American style IPAs. We will compare and contrast each variation and show recipe examples highlighting the differences. The panel will include professional brewers from each region discussing their area’s customer preferences and where they see the market …More

Return of the Mead Panel

  • Speakers: Curt StockKen SchrammMichael FairbrotherSteve Piatz
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Mead making is growing at an astounding rate and there a few great icons who have shaped the movement. From traditional mead makers to the ones who push the limits, come and learn their secrets. Topics will include equipment, ingredients, recipes and techniques for beginner to advanced mead makers. Curt …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

Small Barrel Strategies

  • Speakers: CJ ShamasJames Shamas
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

The increasing availability of five- to 20-gallon oak barrels gives homebrewers the opportunity to brew both “clean” and sour barrel-aged beers, but best practices on how to use these barrels successfully aren’t so readily available. In this seminar, award-winning homebrewer brothers CJ and James Shamas will detail the steps brewers …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

Supply Chain Strategies for Managing Inventory

  • Speakers: Chris GeyerJosh Stapleton
  • Track: Sensory Analysis
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Discover how to develop and manage supply chain strategies for improved inventory management. Cash flow is important to all small businesses, and this seminar will improve and provide the tools you need to ensure satisfied customers while maximizing available cash to grow your business.

The Chemistry of Mashing

  • Speaker: Dr. Roger Barth
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Mashing is the process that converts grain and water to sweet wort. We will discuss the structure and functions of the enzymes involved, and how they are influenced by temperature and pH. Factors that affect pH during mashing will be covered.

The Dark Ages: Baltic, Munich or Kulmbach?

  • Speakers: Michael SteinPeter Jones
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Baltic, Munich and Kulmbacher: this presentation travels through European and American lands to get a better understanding of dark lager. Learn how German, Czech and Baltic Porter styles were appropriated by American breweries before, during and after Prohibition. These styles barely resurfaced after “the great experiment” but they are alive …More

Trouble-Free Tart Beers: Alternative Souring Methods

  • Speaker: Mary Izett
  • Track: Beer Styles
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Want to make complex, tart beers in a fraction of the time and with minimal risk of cross-contaminating your equipment? Blending, kettle souring and alternative ingredients are three methods that you can use at home to produce a number of sour beers, including Berliner Weisses, Goses, Lichtenhainers, faux Flanders reds …More

Troubleshooting Off Flavors in Beer

  • Speaker: Dr. Brad Smith
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

An in-depth look at common off flavors in beer and their causes. This seminar will cover in-depth how to detect off flavors as well as how to fix them. Topics include diaceytl, DMS, esters, phenolics and tannins, as well as sour beer infections. For each off flavor, the top causes …More

Unlocking the Genetic Code of Brewing Strains

  • Speaker: Chris White
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Brewing yeast strains have been developed by brewers over centuries and not created in a lab. This seminar will look at how yeast have genetically developed over the years by brewers. Using science to unlock the genetic code of some brewing strains, we can look at how these strains have …More

Ur-Buzz: The Advent of Human-Controlled Fermentation

  • Speakers: Dr. Patrick McGovernKen Schramm
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Ken Schramm, Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania (author of Uncorking the Past and Ancient Wine) and other panel members discuss the advent of human-controlled fermentation: the ingredients, processes, species domestication, implements and human knowledge that went into the earliest human attempts at and successes in fermentation.

Waste Not, Want Not: Water Conservation for the Homebrewer

  • Speaker: Quentin Hodgson
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Homebrewers spend a lot of time and effort to improve their brewing efficiency, seeking to make best use of quality ingredients and even replicating the water profile for a favorite beer. But one area that is often overlooked is efficiency in using water. A typical homebrewer can use 30 gallons …More

Water Made Easy

  • Speaker: Roy Roberts
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Beer consists mostly of water. Most homebrewers understand the vital importance of brewing water but can be intimidated by the wealth of information available. This talk will focus on simple steps that all-grain brewers can take with regard to their water so they can make better beer.

Welcome to the Dark Side! The Evolution of Porter

  • Speaker: Frank Clark
  • Track: Beer Styles
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Journey into the past of porter with beer historian Frank Clark. We will look at the murky origins of porter and how it evolved into one of the most popular beers of the 18th century, as well as its slow decline in the 19th century and eventual rebirth in the …More

What is Wild Yeast, Where is It, and How do you Brew With It?

  • Speaker: Jeff Mello
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

What makes a yeast truly wild? What is Brettanomyces, and are all beers with Brett actually wild? Where are the best places to find different types of wild yeast? Based on the latest research from Bootleg Biology, we’ll discuss how to classify different types of brewing microbes, where they actually …More

What’s New In The How To Brew

  • Speaker: John Palmer
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Homebrew Con Baltimore features over 90 speakers, and more than 60 seminars for your brewing enjoyment. When the presenters of “Don’t Fear the Fungus…” had to unfortunately withdraw shortly before the conference – we were thrilled to hear that John was willing to step in and offer his brewing know-how …More

Wild Alaska, Wild Ingredients

  • Speaker: Goeff Larson
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 2016
  • Baltimore, MD

Alaskan Brewing co-founder Geoff Larson shares tips and tales from using local and unique ingredients in the brewing process. The seminar will cover selecting ingredients and the base beer, how flavors can manifest, and methods for adding non-traditional ingredients. Examples include spruce tips in Winter Ale, alder-smoked malt, berries, herbs, …More

(Almost) Everything You Know About Brewing History Is Wrong

  • Speaker: Randy Mosher
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2015
  • San Diego, CA

Modern brewers are inspired by the past to create their own interpretations of the classics. But what if it turns out a lot of our ideas about past beers are just not right? This is the case with far too many classic styles. Often, the truth is even more interesting …More

A Contrast and Comparison of the Many Variations of India Pale Ale

  • Speaker: Mitch Steele
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 2015
  • San Diego, CA

A review of brewing techniques, ingredients and traditions related to the many styles of IPA, including historical IPA, English IPA, East Coast and West Coast American IPA, double/imperial IPA, black IPA, session IPA and more.