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!

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

  • Speaker: Bret Baker
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

2014 BJCP Style Guidelines

  • Speaker: Gordon Strong
  • Track: Beer Styles
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Gordon Strong, Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) president and author of Brewing Better Beer, will explain the updated 2014 BJCP style guidelines.

40 Things in 40 Minutes: 40 Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Tweaks to Improve your Brewing, Meadmaking & Cidermaking

  • Speakers: Barry MulsoMichael Spears
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

We will show you 40 tips, tricks, techniques and tweaks in 40 rapid-fire, interactive minutes. Don’t blink as Barry and Mike tackle rescuing failed fermentations, brewing resources, ingredients, beer styles, DIY, networking, competitions, hopping techniques, gadgets and technology, software, blending, off-flavors, clarifying, carbonating, homebrewing laws, clubs, brewing techniques, fun adjuncts, …More

A Guide to Blending Yeast Strains

  • Speaker: Kara Taylor
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Have you ever been curious about blending two yeasts together during fermentation? What would happen if you mixed your favorite Saison and British strains? We’ll look at ways you can blend yeast strains to obtain your optimal fermentation and flavor profiles. We’ll consider the pros and cons of different methods …More

A Homebrewer’s Musings on Barrel Aging

  • Speaker: Chris P. Frey
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

While barrel aging is popular at the pro level, it can be intimidating for homebrewers. Not understanding nuances specific to barrel aging can create uncertainty for homebrewers and potentially leads to avoidance of these traditional flavor- and aroma- enhancing vessels. This seminar is practically focused, with a minimum of science. …More

An Introduction to Brewing Sake

  • Speaker: Edward Hoskin
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Sake is a beverage that unlike beer, wine, cider—and more recently mead—has neither a strong cultural tradition nor a large, knowledgeable hobbyist collective in the U.S. That said, the process of making sake shares many similarities with Western fermentables. This seminar will demystify sake and make it accessible to the …More

Backyard Beekeeping for Homebrewers

  • Speakers: Eric KramerMichael Mullins
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Many homebrewers would make meads and use honey in their homebrew if they could get it more cheaply. Backyard beekeeping is the solution! Learn how to start in the beekeeping hobby and how to use your honey in your own meads, wines, ciders and beers.

Beer Recipes from the Inside Out

  • Speaker: Randy Mosher
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Randy Mosher offers insights and practical tools for recipe formulation based on his long experience in homebrewing and more recently as a team member at two award-winning breweries. Each category of ingredient, especially malt and hops, has its own unique chemistry and vocabulary, and it is essential for brewers to …More

Bootleg Brew Science

  • Speaker: Jeff Mello
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

What’s more local than making homebrew with yeast isolated from your own backyard? Come learn how anyone can be a “bootleg” yeast wrangler, using proven homebrew methods, basic-level lab techniques and a paper clip. Jeff Mello from Bootleg Biology will show you easy methods to capture wild yeast, how to …More

Brew In A Bag: It Really Works!

  • Speakers: Brian PhadRex Slagel
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Brew In A Bag explained! We’ll cover every aspect of this method, including a few tips that will unravel the mystery of water volume and gravity. You will learn about equipment, insulation methods, bag material and uses, lifting techniques, and cooling. To spark ideas, we’ll show photos of rig set …More

Brewing Consistency: Identifying and Controlling the Variables

  • Speaker: Mike "Tasty" McDole
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Do you feel like you’re getting inconsistent results from brew to brew? Mike “Tasty” McDole is well known for expounding the benefits of brewing consistency and how consistency matters in making quality, recipe-driven homebrew. This seminar will identify variables that affect consistency and ways to remove or control them.

Brewing with New Hop Varieties

  • Speaker: Nathan Smith
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Homebrewers are gaining access to more and more new hop varieties such as Mosaic, El Dorado, Belma, Azacca, Saphir, Apollo and Galaxy. Many of these have an interesting signature hop potential that differs from what Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra have to offer. This seminar will discuss how to get more …More

Can You Make a Living in Beer?

  • Speaker: Ray Daniels
  • Track: Going Pro
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Join Ray Daniels for a discussion of possible job and business opportunities in the beer sector and his take on their prospects for their success. Tapping his knowledge and lessons learned as director of the Cicerone Certification Program, a co-owner of Revolution Brewing, and instructor of the Siebel Institute course …More

Cider Panel

  • Speakers: Gary AwdeyJeff CarlsonJoel BrowerPaul Van Der Heide
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Bring your questions! This panel discussion will cover all things cider making. Panelists will include Gary Awdey, president of the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Association, Jeff Carlson, four-time AHA Cidermaker of the Year and Paul Vander Heide and Joel Brower of Vandermill Ciders.

Cider Post-Fermentation Adjustments

  • Speaker: Gary Awdey
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Learn more about cider made from dessert apples and cider apples as well as some of the standard techniques used after fermentation to adjust cider to meet consumer expectations. This hands-on session will emphasize basic bench trial techniques along with a conceptual exploration of what it means to make craft …More

Cohumulone: Friend or Foe?

  • Speaker: Mike Karnowski
  • Track: Ingredients
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

The word on the street is that Cohumulone is bad, but what if it is just misunderstood? Mike Karnowski has a controversial theory that might change the way we think about the bad boy of alpha acids. Multiple beers brewed with various levels of cohumulone are analyzed to determine if …More

Conditioning and Aging Beer

  • Speaker: Colin Kaminski
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Join Water co-author Colin Kaminski for a discussion of conditioning and aging beer, including when and how to rack, when and how to use finings, how to carbonate and measure, and steps to improve flavors and minimize problems from the brewhouse.

Debunking the Detested Decoction

  • Speaker: John Van Itallie
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Ever heard someone say, “You never need to do a decoction?” Today we might say, “You may never absolutely need to do a decoction, but you should embrace it as another available technique.” Join us as we take a fresh look at the decoction process, including tips for making this …More

Draft System Design and Maintenance

  • Speaker: Tom Schmidlin
  • Track: Technical
  • 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

You’ve got your beer in a keg, but how do you get it out? Learn how to design and balance your draft system for the perfect pour of your beer, cider and mead. We’ll also talk about how and why to clean the lines, finding CO2 leaks (and avoiding them …More