Homebrew

Everything about homebrew.

Holy shit, Chris Bosh is blogging about beer (and maybe owns a Blichmann)

Jeremy Short · March 30

I follow a ton of blogs on RSS. Beer blogs. News blogs. Sports blogs. There are a shit ton of blogs to follow. Including this one! You should follow this one and you can do it here. Anyway, check this out! It’s a picture of Chris Bosh next sitting next to a Blichmann!

What!?!?? Does Chris Bosh homebrews??? Oh, man, I hope so. As a homebrew fan, and a basketball fan this is my dream combo. Come on, Bosh, brew up some beer with ...

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The 2015 Homebrewer's Christmas Wish List

Jeremy Short · December 10

While I haven't had time to brew much lately, I've had plenty of time to dream about new brew gear I’d like to add to my collection. And with Christmas coming up, here’s what I am hoping to have in my homebrewer’s stocking. Ok, none of this will probably fit in a stocking, but you get the point. If you’re out there looking for a gift for your favorite homebrewer here’s a few idea (or me. You can ...

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I think I went too far with my homebrewing gear

Jeremy Short · January 2

I love to homebrew. And guess what? I haven’t homebrewed for the last four months. I have a long list of reason for that (work, children, school, etc), but that’s rarely stopped me before. What’s actually holding me back the most is that I’ve gone too far. My homebrewing gear and setup are weighing me down. It takes too long to setup. The brew day went from a couple hours to nearly six hours. Those are six great hours, but it ...

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Review: Cheap Scale for Homebrewing (Epica)

Chris Jensen · December 19

I can't believe I waited as long as I did to pick up a grain scale for weighing grains and hops. For years, I'd weigh all my grains at the HBS (even for a short time after I started buying my base grains in bulk) and I'd just eyeball my hops. For what it's worth, I still don't think that latter part is a big offense as you can probably get pretty close when working with 1 oz portions of ...

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Brewing up a Holiday Beer

Chris Jensen · December 12

I love holiday beers. More specifically, I love giving holiday beers. Nothing says "I appreciate you" more than a hand-made gift into which you put your passion, expertise and time. Except perhaps a hand-made gift that is damn good to boot.

I have been making holiday beers since 2007, when I produced an Anchor holiday clone called "Matt Holiday" to commemorate the Rockies' spectacular World Series run. Sure, by the time I actually passed out the beers, everyone was heart-broken by the events that unfolded ...
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Review: Black Box Fermentation Controller

Chris Jensen · December 3

I recently used the Black Box Fermentation Controller and my experience could not have been better.

The device shipped directly from Black Box via USPS and was ready to go out of the box. For my initial test, I used a heat wrap (as described in our Small Investments for a Big Impact post) to apply heat to a Dusseldorf Altbier fermentation. I programmed a specific fermentation temp profile by following the instructional videos on the Black Box website and found it to be incredibly ...

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Small Investments for a Big Impact

Chris Jensen · October 19

A lot of brewing equipment is expensive. Some of it is a necessary evil, but much of the money we spend on equipment is "nice to have," increasing the joy or convenience of our brew day, or just looking rad.

However, I've made a few upgrades over the years that had a minimal cost investment and yet which had a major benefit to my brew process. Here are my the top three cheap-yet-effective items in my brew closet:

  1. Wallpaper tray: I picked up one ...
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Review of the Barley Crusher Malt Mill

Chris Jensen · September 10

For years I held out on picking up a malt mill. My LHBS has a mill, I insisted, so even if I stock up on bulk grain at home I can mill at the HBS when picking up my other ingredients (I typically buy my specialty malts from the HBS since I don't stock up on those at home).

However, I recently had a couple of brew sessions in which my efficiency inexplicably fell like a rock, and after careful evaluation I realized that ...

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How to Shave Time Off Your Brew Day

Chris Jensen · August 28

One of the challenges with brewing is the time commitment. For many, it's an all day adventure for which we must plan ahead and allocate time away from family, chores and other hobbies. My Pintwell partner, Jeremy, actually finds that the only way he can brew these days is to take a day off of work!

It is one of of the compelling reasons to go BIAB or back to extract brewing. Back when I did the latter I used to knock out a ...

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The Complete Joy of...Tinkering?

Chris Jensen · July 30

I love this hobby. And I'm not the only one.

If I had a hop pellet for every time I've heard or read someone call it an "obsession" I could brew the most bitter beer known to man!

What is is that makes people so passionate about the hobby? Is it a fascination with the idea of producing something that can get you inebriated? Is it the love of sharing the a great home-made product with friends? Is it the science?

Realistically, it ...

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A year of using my Speidel Plastic Fermenter

Jeremy Short · July 16

I wrote a review for the Speidel Plastic Fermenter just over a year ago. At the time I had used it for just a couple of batches. Now I’ve had the thing for over a year and have fermented at least a  dozen batches in these carboys and I still think they are the best deal out there. Sure, if you are rolling in the dough you could drop a big wad of cash on a stainless steel conical, but I don’t have ...

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Sour Beer Shortcut: Brewing Sours the Easy Way

Chris Jensen · June 4

I love sour beer. It's one of my favorite styles and I can find a sour beer for any occasion. Clearly I'm not alone: according to a GuestMetrics report, sour beer is the second fastest growing segment of beer. But, I'd argue that my love of sour beer goes beyond that of most. Most people I know who say they love sours say it was an acquired taste: that the first time they tried a sour beer they didn't like it ...

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3 Tips for All Grain Brewing: What I Wish I Knew

Chris Jensen · May 14

It took me a long time to make the leap to all grain brewing, much longer than for most people. It was 13 years between my first brew and my first all grain brew, and 5 years from when I got serious until I went all grain. Frankly, I thought it sounded like a pain in the ass, and I was already producing award winning beer that, more importantly, I enjoyed drinking. I was reluctant to drop the expense associated with all that added equipment ...

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Where to get CO2 in Denver: Fills + Exchanges

Chris Jensen · April 9

In the past I've had a difficult time tracking down a great place to have my kegorator's CO2 tank refilled in the greater Denver area. Places are inconsistent, prices are all over the map, and a lot of places (like grow shops) only offer 20 lb tanks.

I've compliled a short list of friendly shops that will fill or exchange your CO2 tank for a reasonable price.

  
 
Shop Area Address Price Fill/Exchange
Centennial Tap Berkeley 1930 W 41st Ave, Denver, CO ...
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Shirron Plate Chiller Review

Jeremy Short · April 2

We’re on a plate chiller writing spree at Pintwell! While Chris is a fan of the Duda Diesel, for the money I think the Shirron Plate Chiller is a solid choice. At a touch less than $100 the Shirron Plate Chiller is cheaper than many immersion chillers you will find out there. And it’s compact and does the job. I can cool down my wort to pitching temps in half the time it takes me with my immersion chiller.

The Good

It’s ...

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Why Does My Beer Smell Like Butter?

Jeremy Short · March 26

If you're here, you may have just cracked up in a bottle of homebrew and took a big whiff of butter from your pint glass. Yum, butter? Wait, this isn't supposed to smell like butter. What happened to my beer? And just maybe you took a swig of that beer and there is is again: butter. Not cool. You, my friend, have diacetyl. Adding a butter aroma and flavor, Diacetyl is one of the more common off-flavors found in beer. So what causes ...

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Duda Diesel Plate Chiller Review

Chris Jensen · March 26

I've used an immersion chiller since I started brewing regularly 7 years ago. Prior to that I used an ice bath, so at the time thought it was quite an upgrade. The immersion chiller worked well enough for my purposes, especially when I used to do partial boils, so I thought that a CFC or plate chiller was just overkill. When I started doing 10 gallon batches, I added a pond pump and a whirlpool arm to my chiller so to improve my chilling ...

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How to Wire a Pump to Your Brew Stand (and other simple applications)

Chris Jensen · March 21

Upon building the Bad Larry wood brew stand, I knew I wanted to include simple electrical to run a pump and my heatstick. I debated about the simplest (and safest) way to do this, looking for a solution that was functional but which also looked clean. I eventually landed on a solution that allowed me quick and easy access to control the pump and heatstick, while incorporating the primary safety elements I was concerned with.

Please note that I am not an electrician, so be ...

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How To Brew With Spruce Tips

Chris Jensen · March 6

It's almost spring, which means it's time to start brewing with spruce. Yes, spruce beers may seem like a holiday specialty, but the real trick to brewing a good spruce beer is to start in the spring.

This is because spring is when spruce trees get their new growth: the tiny yet luscious tips that make for a delightful brewing adjunct. You want to harvest the new tips when they are short (1/2 to 1" long) and light in color. They should ...

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Free Yeast! And why I love my local brewer

Chris Jensen · February 26

I love my local brewer. Or should I say, brewers... Lots of brewers. Denver has been overrun by new breweries, and I couldn't be happier.

Of course, most of them make tasty and interesting beers that I love to try. I appreciate the experimentation of some, but value the diligence of others who try to nail traditional yet challenging styles, such as the German Pils. I love the unique environment they create, each a unique extension of a living room or beer hall which ...

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Carboy Cleaner Review

Chris Jensen · February 11

Cleaning a glass carboy is rough. It's one of my least favorite chores in the brewing process because it's awkward, time consuming and slightly dangerous.

In the past, I used a combination of carboy brush and Soul-Train-style ass shaking to clean my carboys. Only after 15 minutes and 1500 calories burned did I feel confident that there wasn't any junk left clinging to the inside of the vessel.

That is, until I got the Carboy Cleaner a year ago. Ever since, I ...

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How to Make Crystal Clear Beer

Jeremy Short · February 4

One of most satisfying things is pouring a pint of your own crystal clear homebrew and knowing that your beer looks and tastes as good as anything you could have bought at the liquor store. Another advantage of crystal clear beer is that the uninitiated homebrew guests that visit your house won't be totally freaked out by a cloudy muddled beer that screams: yo, bro! Check out this beer I made in my closet! Otherwise, you might get a polite smile and a request ...

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Homebrewing in the Winter: Tips for Brewing when it's freezing outside

Chris Jensen · January 28

The arctic-freezing-polar-vortex-winter-chillabone is here! It seems like the temps keep getting colder and colder and much of the country can't catch a break, so I thought we should talk about the thing on many brewers' minds this time of year: How the hell am I supposed to mash in when I can't feel my fingers?

Well, rest assured that it can be done, and those freezing temps can actually help you out.

 

A Few Frosty Pointers:

First, make sure you are well organized ...

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Wood Brew Stand Plans

Chris Jensen · January 17

I debated for years about what would make my ideal brew stand. There are a million variables including substrate, size, automation, etc. Ultimately, I decided to go with a fairly simple wood stand as I think they are sexy and, more importantly, I could build it myself (I find that those things I can do myself in the home brewery are more rewarding than those I outsource). I do not have strong woodworking skills, but patience and care will go a long ways.

I also ...

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How to Wax Your Homebrew Bottles

Chris Jensen · December 15

You've slaved for hours over this year's holiday brew.  You really went all out to show off your monster brewing skills and to tell your friends how special they are. So you did a triple decocted, 8 month lagered eisbock that is going to blow their minds. After all that effort, you want to give it that special touch to make sure it stands out. Handing them out in those old, crusty bombers with the labels still on is not going to do ...

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What to do when you have a stuck mash

Jeremy Short · December 11

You just spent $50 on ingredients and you've been mashing your grains for an hour then you go to separate out your wort and ... what the ... holy hell the wort isn't coming out. What do I do? Help! Oh, man, this was going to be the best pale ale ever! Don't worry, yet. I've been stranded with a stuck mash a few times. It's the worst damn thing to happen on a brew day. So far I've been able ...

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Why does my beer taste like apples?

Jeremy Short · December 11

If you've just cracked open a homebrew and find that it has a green apple flavor you've probably have acetaldehyde. Unless, of course, you added apples or apple juice to your beer. But then you probably wouldn't be here wondering where that strange flavor came from. Other flavor descriptions of acetaldehyde include freshly cut pumpkin, cut grass, and green leaves, personally it reminds me of green Jolly Ranchers. In large quantities it really jumps out at you and makes you say, "what ...

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How to control mouthfeel in your homebrew

Jeremy Short · November 27

Have you recently received some feedback on your homebrew that said: needs more body, high astringency, or too hot? And now you are wondering hot to fix that? Well here you go. A whole post about the exciting world of mouthfeel. First, if you need a refresher on what mouth feel is check out this post. Got it? Cool. Let’s move on to how to manipulate the different aspect of mouthfeel in your beer.

Oh wait, there’s one other thing to consider before ...

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How to fucking clean your kettle or mash tun

Jeremy Short · September 26

You've been brewing up beer for a while and then one brew day you look down in your kettle and realize crap, this fucking thing is looking like shit. Well here's a quick guide on how to get that shit out of there.

Cleanliness is fucking important in brewing. That’s why I am going to say shit and fuck a lot in this post. Got it? Fucking good.  

Here's the shit you're going to have to fucking buy to get ...

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2014 Colorado Homebrew Competitions

Pintwell · August 14

Here is a list of all of the upcoming Colorado (and near-by) homebrew competitions we know about. Know of one that's not listed? Shoot us an email: jeremy (a) pintwell.com or post the details in the comments and we will add to the list. List last updated May 20, 2014.

Steel City Brewfest

  • Website: http://puebloriverwalk.org/steel-city-brewfest/
  • Entry Deadline: May. 23, 2014 
  • Judging Dates: June 6, 2014
  • Location: Pueblo, CO
  • Cost per Entry: $5.00
  • BJCP: Yes

Odyssey Beerwerks Inaugural Competition

  • Website ...
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Sustainable Brewing: Uses for your Spent Grain

Chris Jensen · April 24

As a part of our Earth Week series on reducing the environmental impact on brewing, we’d like to talk about one of the easiest opportunities for a homebrewer: reusing your spent grain.

Both all grain and partial mash brewers end up with a surplus of leftover grain at the end of a brew session (all grain, high gravity brewers much more so!). Rather than send them to the landfill, we like to reuse them in various ways as they still have all kinds of ...

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Sustainable Brewing: Tips for reducing your environmental impact

Chris Jensen · April 22

For many, brewing represents a battle between the want to conveniently brew excellent beer and the desire to minimize one’s environmental impact.

There are no two ways about it: brewing beer takes a lot of resources. Regardless of whether you’re a modest homebrewer or a world-renowned pro, you still have to heat your water, cool your wort, clean your equipment, and develop your sugars. Many professional breweries have implemented sophisticated systems to waste less water, recapture energy, and reuse their resources. But what ...

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Bottle Your Homebrew the Easy Way

Chris Jensen · April 17

Bottling your beer can be a real pain. On top of all of the cleaning and sanitizing required for the bottles, you also need to manage a lot of gear: buckets, bottling wands, or, if you are lucky, bottling guns. 

But it need not be so complex! About a year ago I discovered a new solution that has revolutionized my bottling procedur,e which costs about $15. It works just as well as any counter-pressure filler and will keep your beer carbed for months. This ...

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How to Clean Your Tap Lines

Chris Jensen · April 10

Nobody likes a dirty tap. You go to all this trouble to create this beautiful, aromatic, tasty delight…the last thing you want to do is cover that up with the smell of a band-aids and dirty socks.

So clean it up! We recommend cleaning your tap lines and faucets every time you change out your beers as it only takes a few minutes and will save your beer all kinds of problems. There are several ways to skin this cat. I’ve found this ...

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How to manage your homebrew addiction

Jeremy Short · April 5

This post is part of The Session a monthly beer blogging topic. It's been awhile since I've contributed. This month's topic is finding beer balance.

Homebrewing is a painful addiction. Not for the addict, but for the people who live around the addict and constantly have to hear references to archaic beer styles or sentences like “I can’t wait to check out the new US96H hop breed ... You got to come over and check out my new keezer fan ... check out ...

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Is this the best homebrew carboy? A review of the Speidel Plastic Fermenter

Jeremy Short · April 4

After waiting months for the Speidel Plastic Fermenter to be back in stock at MoreBeer, I was finally able to buy two 20L Speidels this August. Now that I've had a chance to run a few beers through them, what do I think? I sold all of my other carboys and now exclusively use the Speidels. So yeah, I like them.

Since I first started brewing I've always used plastic or glass carboys. There are several problems with both types of carboys: cleaning ...

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2013 Colorado Homebrew Competitions

Pintwell · April 1

 

2013 is over, as if you didn't know. Here is the 2014 listing. 

 

Here is a list of all of the upcoming Colorado (and near-by) homebrew competitions we know about. Know of one that's not listed? Shoot us an email: jeremy (a) pintwell.com or post details in the comments and we will add to the list.

 

Biere de Rock

  • Websitehttp://www.bierederock.com/
  • Entry Deadline: November 23, 2013 
  • Judging Dates: December 7, 2013
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Cost per Entry: $7.00 ...
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How to clean your homebrew kegs

Jeremy Short · March 27

You've upgraded. You have a fancy new (well probably used) keg for your homebrew and you’re ready to fill it with your precious creation. But wait! Your keg smells a little funky! Here are a few quick steps to get your kegs clean and pouring tasty delicious homebrew.

1 - Rinse. I like to give a thorough rinse to my kegs as soon as they kick. The longer the residual sugars sit around, the more of a pain they will be to clean off ...

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Mobile Flash Cards for the BJCP Exam

Jeremy Short · March 20

Whether you are studying for the online, tasting or written BJCP exams, the Pintwell flash cards are here to help. As I came closer to taking my tasting exam I knew I had to sharpen my knowledge of each aspect of the BJCP style guidelines. Just reading the guidelines became increasingly dull. Go figure. I just wanted some simple flash cards that I could access on my phone, and thus the flash card site was born. It's nothing fancy, but it made prepping for ...

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Calculating Finishing Gravity with a Refractometer is Nuts

Jeremy Short · January 21

Santa kindly gave me a Refractometer for Christmas this year, which rocked because it was on my list of gifts for your favorite homebrewer. And just a couple of weeks ago I brewed up a doppelbock and got to try my new toy out. It was everything I dreamed it would be. Geeky. Easy to read. Rather badass looking. I was happy. Then I went to take a reading after fermentation had slowed down and got a sky-high reading. Wait? Did I under-pitch? Was the ...

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Cleaning out used beer bottles for your homebrew

Jeremy Short · December 28

I'll start out by saying this is probably one of the least exciting aspects of homebrewing. Bottling will never rank as exciting and the process of getting ready to bottle? Yeah, not a lot of fun here. Nonetheless this is a key part in sharing and enjoying homebrew and I guess it does have a kind of meditative quality. Meditative? Is that the word?

Anyway, let’s start with what bottles do you want: brown ones! Don’t even bother with clear or green ...

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Gifts for Your Favorite Homebrewer

Jeremy Short · December 14

If you're not a homebrewer but you want to get a gift for a homebrewer you might have no idea where to start. So start here! Here is a list of a few things that most hombrewers would enjoy getting under the Christmas tree. Well, at least, these are gifts I would like to see under the Christmas tree. All of these gifts are fairly universal and would be great for everyone from the beginner to the advanced homebrewer.

Looking for more?  Be sure ...

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Calculate Specific Gravity from Plato

Jeremy Short · November 2

Every now and then you may run into a beer or beer recipe that give Plato instead of Specific Gravity. And there's an easy calculation to convert between the two:

 

( Plato / ( 258.6 - ( ( Plato / 258.2 ) * 227.1 ) ) + 1 = Specific gravity

 

Well maybe easy isn't the right word, but to make it easier I made a little calculator to help with the math:

 

//

 

Or, if your just looking for a cheat sheet, here is a quick conversion reference:

 

Plato Gravity ...
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Homebrewing with a recipe kit

Jeremy Short · April 30

I’ve been all-grain homebrewing for a while and have almost forgotten what it’s like to brew up an extract beer on the kitchen stove. And it’s awesome—the smell of malt and hops throughout the house. Who doesn’t love that? Oh yeah, my wife isn’t a fan. Anyway, one thing I’ve never tried: making a homebrew from a recipe kit, and I got a chance to do just that with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend—who have just entered ...

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