Archives for November 2014

Beer News (Oct 27–Nov. 21)

BWJlogoOK, let’s start with some listicles (articles in the form of a list). Thrillist gives their 15 beers to drink this winter and Paste lists their 15 best Christmas beers. And, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives their 9 beers to put you in the holiday spirit


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Thanksgiving Recipes


Mmmm . . . turkey.

Beer and Wine Journal is mostly about brewing, with a little winemaking and mead making content thrown in. But we also run the occasional story about food. Last year, I posted one Thanksgiving beer recipe (Cranberry Zinger) and one beer recipe that uses a typical Thanksgiving ingredient (Sweet Potato ESB). We also have a Pumpkin Beer recipe, if that’s your thing. I also posted a variety of Thanksgiving food recipes, which I summarize here.

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Cranberry Zinger (All-grain)


It”s that time of year again.

Thanksgiving is two weeks away and so today I’m posting the all-grain version of my Cranberry Zinger — a great beer to serve on Thanksgiving day. Quick and easy to brew, and virtually foolproof, this is a great seasonal beer.

The all-grain version differs slightly from the extract version. Basically, the OG is little lower, but don’t worry — it’s not brain surgery. Almost any wheat beer base from 10–13 °Plato (1.040–1.052), all-grain or extract, will work fine. This recipe actually makes a nice American wheat beer, so you could brew 10 gallons (38 L) and split half into a straight up American wheat beer and add fruit to the second half.

Cranberries are tart, and they are also a bit tannic. The orange pith in the recipe (part of the whole orange) gives some added bitterness beyond the hopping (which is low). The dry, tart, slightly puckering flavor (and mouthfeel) of the beer is accentuated by the high level of carbonation.

This beer ferments quickly (3–4 days) and, after the beer has contacted the fruit for about a week, you can keg it and it will be ready to go. If you keg your beer, you can brew the base this weekend and have it ready for Thanksgiving.

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The Steps in a Step Mash (II)

This is the continuation of a previous post


brewpotThe lower temperature rests in a step mash deal with hydration, mash pH, proteins, and beta glucans. They are not needed with most fully-modified malts, but work well with undermodified malts or home malted barley. Two of the three remaining rests deal with the degradation of carbohydrates — how starch is broken down into a mixture of fermentable sugars and unfermentable carbohydrates. These rests can be performed regardless of the type of malt you are mashing.

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The Steps in a Step Mash (I)

This a follow up to my recent post on single infusion mashes. Reviewing how enzymes work will make some parts of this article make more sense. 


brewpotSingle infusion mashes work well when brewing with fully-modified malts. However, there are times when a step mash is more appropriate. In a step mash, the mash is initially rested at a temperature below the usual saccharification range, then raised through one or more rests at progressively higher temperatures. To raise the temperature, the mash may be directly heated, infused with hot water, or decoctions may be pulled, heated, and returned to the main mash. (Additionally, in a cereal mash, a mash that was initiated separately from the main mash may be stirred in to raise the overall temperature of the combined mash.)

Performing a step mash is beneficial when using undermodified malt or home malted grains. In home malted grains — for which the degree of modification is likely to be uneven, compared to commercial standards — a decoction mash is likely your best bet.

There are historically relevant step mashes, such as the “standard” triple decoction mash, in which a specific set of rests is called for. On the other hand, any brewer can come up with his or her own step mash by choosing to rest or not at various temperatures. Here’s a quick rundown on the common steps found in a step mash, with some final thoughts on the overall mash program.

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