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!

Brewing Consistency: Identifying and Controlling the Variables

  • Speaker: Mike "Tasty" McDole
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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
  • Homebrew Con 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

Effects of Hot Side Aeration of Wort, Mash & Sparge Water

  • Speaker: John Rozborski
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Ever wonder if you’re ruining your beer because of splashing your wort, over mixing your mash or aggressively sparging? This presentation is the results of an AHA Research & Education Fund project. It will share the results of an experiment designed to test these concepts and may give you guidance …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

Experimental Brewing

  • Speakers: Denny ConnDrew Beechum
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Drew Beechum and Denny Conn discuss concepts from their upcoming book, Experimental Homebrewing. They’ll cover why you should experiment and how to set up and evaluate your experiments, as well as give tips on equipment, recipes and ingredients for fruitful experimentation.

Farm to Glass: Brewing with Local Ingredients

  • Speakers: Brian TennisErik MayNick Rodammer
  • Track: Ingredients
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Have you ever considered sourcing your malt, hops or even yeast locally? Join Michigan homebrewer Nick Rodammer, hop grower Brian Tennis and malt producer Erik May as they discuss the emerging trend of sourcing locally grown and produced brewing ingredients.

From Five Gallons to Fifteen Barrels

  • Speaker: Adam Mills
  • Track: Going Pro
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Adam Mills, head brewer at Cranker’s Brewery in Big Rapids, Mich. will discuss the transition from homebrewing to brewing on a professional scale. He will address recipe scale-up, yeast handling and hopping rates with a special focus on whirlpool and dry hopping. Adam will pour samples of his Professor IPA.

Herbs, Spices & Other Botanical Ingredients in Today’s Beer Recipes

  • Speaker: Mitch Steele
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Mitch Steele, brewmaster of Stone Brewing Co., covers a range of traditional and unconventional techniques in this seminar focused on the use of spice and herbs in beer. Starting with a brief review of historical uses, Mitch will then dive into the use of traditional spices in today’s craft beers. …More

Homebrew Competitions: How to Run One & How to Enter One

  • Speakers: Brian JoasBruce Buerger
  • Track: Clubs & Competitions
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Homebrew competitions involve more than just collecting and judging entries and handing out medals. To be successful, they require some vision and strong planning ahead of the judging date. From the entrant’s perspective, there are multiple competitions to choose from. They are a great way to gain feedback and tips …More

How Good is Your Grist?

  • Speaker: Jennifer Helber
  • Track: Technical
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

The American Society of Brewing Chemists coordinated a collaborative test with 12 breweries on a method to check the coarseness of milling with sieves. This method can also be useful to homebrewers, because a correct mill setting greatly impacts the efficiency of extracting fermentable sugars. We will discuss the method, …More

How to Manage Yeast for the Home Brewery

  • Speaker: Douglas Gladue
  • Track: Yeast & Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

How were brewing strains chosen to make beer? Douglas will provide Information every homebrewer can use to ensure their beer is properly fermented and does not contain off flavors associated with bad fermentation. We’ll discuss picking proper yeast strains, reusing yeast for multiple batches and storing cultures for future use, …More

Ice Cider

  • Speaker: Nathan Williams
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Twenty years ago, a genuinely new kind of apple cider appeared in Quebec: cidre de glace, or ice cider. Made from frozen apples or juice, ice cider is a wine-strength, sweet drink that showcases the true character of apples. Learn about the brief history of ice cider, commercial production and …More

Improving Clarity for Homebrewers

  • Speaker: Brad Smith
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Cloudy beer got you down? Brad Smith, author and podcast host, presents the causes and solutions for this problem. We’ll discuss the many potential contributors to cloudiness in beer including proteins, polyphenols, tannins and yeast. Brad will also explain the full range of products and techniques to improve clarity and …More

Keeping it Safe! The Home Brewery’s Safety Plan

  • Speaker: Sean Wolfe
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

It starts with a recipe and a dream of an award-winning homebrew; it ends with a trip to the emergency room and your spouse selling off all of your brewing equipment. Join Sean Wolfe, homebrewer and senior safety analyst for Lockheed Martin, as we work though some common safety concerns …More

Keeping It Simple: What Monks Can Teach Us About Brewing

  • Speaker: Stan Hieronymus
  • Track: Historical
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

When Brother Antoine was in charge of brewing at Rochefort, he said: “Two of the pale malts, two of the sugars, two hop varieties, two yeast strains . . . two of this and two of that . . . we like to keep it simple.” That approach produces amazingly …More

Keynote

  • Speaker: Dave Engbers & Mike Stevens
  • Track: Other/Misc.
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

2014 National Homebrewers Conference Keynote

Kosmicki Spills the Secrets

  • Speakers: Dave "Diamond" DeschaineJeremy Kosmicki
  • Track: Recipe Formulation & Improvement
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

How does Founders continue to invent new and exciting beers? Jeremy Kosmicki will discuss recipe formulation, unique ingredients and processes, and how the brewery pushes the boundaries of their beer while still maintaining a delicious balance of flavors.

Let’s Brew Small

  • Speaker: James Spencer
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

There are several advantages to brewing smaller batches. This seminar will take a look at the reasons to go small, the equipment needed for smaller brews, sample recipes that have been proven on the small scale, and how to scale up (or down) recipes once they are successful.

Long Live Lagers

  • Speakers: Jason OliverWarren Haskell
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

This seminar will present an overview of brewing lager styles, from light and crisp to dark and heavy. It will take professional lager brewing practices and translate them into practical methods for the average homebrewer. Lagers, more than any other beer style, require the brewer to pay attention to the …More

Making the Jump to All-Grain

  • Speaker: Scott Mitchell
  • Track: Brewing Process
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Are you on the fence about making the jump to all-grain brewing? Come get the push you’ve always wanted as Scott explains the basic knowledge, costs, time requirements and techniques needed to brew your first all-grain batch.

Mead: Past & Present

  • Speaker: Berniece Van Der Berg
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Berniece Van Der Berg of Moonlight Meadery reflects on the history of mead, the ancestor of fermented beverages, as well as modern mead-making practices. Berniece will discuss honey, plus a variety of current professional practices and innovations.

Navigating the Complexities of Making Great Hard Cider at Home

  • Speaker: Corey Arrick
  • Track: Alternative Fermentation
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

The seminar will explore various ways of making hard cider, from simple processes to the more complex, and will dive into how procedures, ingredient selection, creativity, time and patience will prove that you have control over the final outcome. The sky is the limit when it comes to making great …More

No Boil Hop Beer

  • Speaker: Matthew Brown
  • Track: Ingredients
  • Homebrew Con 2014
  • Grand Rapids, MI

Brewing a balanced beer with no boil hops—is it possible? As part of the AHA’s Research & Education Fund, a unique method of using hops in the brewing process was utilized to add clean bitterness to beer. Matthew Brown will describe the history of the idea and how the beer …More