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Beer Maturation and Yeast with John Palmer – BeerSmith Podcast #168

Beer Maturation and Yeast with John Palmer – BeerSmith Podcast #168

John Palmer, author of “How to Brew” joins me to discuss the beer maturation process and the critical role that yeast play in beer maturation. We also discuss methods to speed up the maturation process.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (48:17)

  • Today my guest is John Palmer. John is author of the top selling beer brewing book How to Brew (Amazon affiliate link) now in its fourth edition, as well as co-author of Water and Brewing Classic Styles (Amazon affiliate links). John has a web site featuring his first edition at HowToBrew.com
  • We start with a short discussion of John’s recent trip to Mexico and why John thinks we are living in the “Golden Age” for beer brewing.
  • John recently did some presentations on yeast and beer maturation – we begin with a discussion of what the beer maturation process is.
  • We talk about how many off flavors are caused by yeast, but also how yeast play an important role in mitigating and reducing off flavors.
  • John discusses the yeast life cycle, and how it is closely related to the stages of brewing.
  • He shares his thoughts on maturation which is largely a process of reducing byproducts and waste left over from the brewing process.
  • We discuss some of the byproducts that yeast produce and also how yeast clean these up.
  • John tells us why yeast growth rate is important, as well as why pitching rates are critical for yeast health.
  • We talk about diacetyl as well as acetalaldehyde and how yeast mop these byproducts up if given the chance.
  • John shares his tips on rapid maturation of beer and we discuss the technique of cold crashing and lagering.
  • John gives us his closing thoughts.

Sponsors

Thanks to John Palmer for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
buy prednisone 20mg iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Smaller breweries drive craft growth

Smaller breweries drive craft growth

The number of operating breweries in the United States grew 16% in 2017 and smaller breweries generally fared better than large ones. Total beer sales declined 1% for the year, while craft (as defined by the Brewers Association) beer sales grew 5%. Microbreweries, meaning ones that made 15,000 barrels or less, and brewpubs delivered 76% of craft growth.

“Growth for the craft brewing industry is adapting to the new realities of a mature market landscape,” Brewers Association economist Bart Watson said in a press release announcing the 2017 statistics. “Beer lovers are trending toward supporting their local small and independent community craft breweries. At the same time, as distribution channels experience increased competition and challenges, craft brewer performance was more mixed than in recent years, with those relying on the broadest distribution facing the most pressure.”

Craft Beer Sales 2017

Small and independent breweries account for 98% of the breweries in operation. They exemplify what has become known as “the long tail.” In fact, the smallest 75% of breweries make less than 1% of the beer.

“Beer lovers want to support businesses that align with their values and are having a positive impact on their local communities and our larger society,” added Watson. “That’s what small and independent craft brewers are all about. The ability to seek beers from small and independent producers matters.”

Craft breweries produced 25.4 million barrels in 2017 and the value of retail sales grew 8% to and estimated $26.0 billion, representing 23.4% market share.

Breweries continue to open at a faster rate than the market is growing, with 997 new one operating in 2017. About 2.6%, or 165, of breweries closed, but Watson warned that number may increase along with growing competition. “It’s hard to know what a long term rate may be,” he said in a conference call.

Maple Bark and Maple Syrup Beer

Maple Bark and Maple Syrup Beer

Black maple bark harvesting.I’m suspicious of any “maple” beer that smells more like maple syrup than actual maple syrup does. The aromatics in real maple syrup just aren’t that potent when diluted 10:1 and then fermented. Many breweries add some maple syrup (so they can put it on the label), but bolster it with extracts or maple-flavored coffee beans. Fenugreek is another, more natural, option used to flavor imitation syrups. Another approach is to add maple syrup to the chilled beer to preserve sweetness and flavor, but it doesn’t make much simple sugar to overwhelm the usual beer balance.

Two years ago when I brewed my third Adambier (recipe) I added 1 quart of dark maple syrup to 5 gallons along with a cup of bourbon. The maple flavor was relatively subtle (tasting notes). After reading The Homebrewer’s Almanac, I wanted to try their technique of harvesting maple bark, toasting it, and then adding it to the boil. I found the opportunity a year ago when I visited my parents. Ideally I would have used bark from a sugar maple, but the black maple in their yard was good enough for a first try.  I picked a spot that didn’t have much moss growing on it and chipped off a small patch.

When I got home, I toasted the two ounces of maple maple bark in the oven until aromatic, 55 minutes at 350F. I then simmered the bark in two quarts of water for 60 minutes uncovered. After a few test blends, I opened the keg of Adambier and added one quart of the resulting liquid into about 3 gallons of beer.

Beautiful nitro pour on the maple Adambier!Double Maple Adam

Smell – The nose has a deep blend of vanilla and caramel. The bourbon and maple work synergistically, but it doesn’t have the obvious maple flavor. Raisins or prunes are starting to come out as faint signs of oxidation. Smoke is mild, a subtle background flavor giving the beer a savory quality.

Appearance – The body is nearly opaque dark-brown, but there is clear amber right around the edges. Tight tan head. Despite the year sitting pressurized with beer gas, the head retention is good but not great. With the high alcohol (including fortification) that may be the best I can hope for.

Taste – The woodsy-vanilla flavor I got from the maple bark in present in the flavor. I could see some people confusing the slight butterscotch note with diacetyl, but I get that in the syrup as well. Smoke plays with it back and forth in the finish, more defined than the nose. Sweet thanks to subdued hop bitterness, but not sticky. Alcohol warming is mild, despite the ~11% ABV (diluted from 12% by the bark-water).

Mouthfeel – Rounded thanks to the low carbonation and creamy head.

Drinkability & Notes – It’s a unique beer. Layers of flavors that make it a strong beer that is for savoring. That’s what I want in a ~11% ABV beer, something that would be impossible to achieve at a moderate ABV.

Changes for Next Time – I’d like to try the same technique with sugar maple bark to see if that flavor is a little more reminiscent of maple syrup. That said, this worked out well as is! Maple bark isn’t the only bark that works, when I visited Scratch Brewing they had a beer with toasted oak bark on that had a coffee-like note. They suggest hickory, cherry, and cedar bark too.

I also took the book’s suggestion to make my own imitation maple syrup by boiling the remaining 3/4 cup of maple-bark extraction with 1.5 cups of table sugar until it reached 219F. The amber syrup has a strong vanilla-woodsy flavor, and it works nicely (especially in savory applications). Not quite real maple syrup, but more interesting than pancake (aka telephone pole) syrup!

I recently stumbled into Fallingfruit.org which is a user generated map of foragable plants. Taking the bark off a tree can be hazardous to the tree, so make sure you clear it with the person or better yet take it off a dead tree.

Maple bark syrup

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations!

New Hop Products for Brewing with Mitch Steele – BeerSmith Podcast #167

New Hop Products for Brewing with Mitch Steele – BeerSmith Podcast #167

Mitch Steele joins me to discuss the best use of a wide variety of hop products including whole hops, pellet hops, wet hops, hop extracts, hop oils and more.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (44:50)

  • Today my guest is Mitch Steele. Mitch is the Brewmaster and COO at New Realm Brewing in Atlanta and former Brewmaster at Stone. Mitch also wrote the book on IPAs called IPAs: Brewing Techniques and the Evolution of India Pale Ale (Amazon affiliate link). Mitch holds a degree in Fermentation Sciences from the University of California at Davis.
  • We discuss Mitch’s new brewery “New Realm” which just launched in Atlanta.
  • We start with a discussion of whole hops and how best to use them in brewing beer.
  • Next we move on to pellet hops and discuss their advantages and disadvantages as well as how to best use them.
  • Mitch shares his thoughts on working with wet hops (fresh hops off the bine) that have not been dried or processed and why its important to use them within about 24 hours.
  • We discuss “cryohops” and luplin powders including how they are made and why they are best used in the whirlpool or dry hopping.
  • Mitch talks about CO2 extracts, and how they are made and best used in the boil.
  • We discuss isomerized extracts which can be added even to a finished beer to increase bitterness.
  • Mitch explains traditional hop oils and how these can be used in brewing.
  • He discusses steam distilled hop oils including his experience with “Hopzoil”
  • We talk about aromatic hop oils and how many are now being isolated for use in brewing – i.e. you can get a single hop compound like myrcene.
  • Mitch provides his closing thoughts on the proliferation of hop products and where they are going next.

Sponsors

Thanks to Mitch Steele for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.