What’s New?

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 5.45.52 PMSo you started brewing awhile ago, and you’ve gotten pretty good at it. You’ve brewed some ales, and some more ales. You’ve added more hops, and even more hops, to some of your beers and they were great. But maybe you’ve been noticing a certain sameness creeping into your brewdays and want to try something new — but what is there?

For intermediate brewers, there are a ton of “new” things you can try. Few of these are new to brewing as a whole, but most are underappreciated in the homebrewing community and mostly attempted only by advanced homebrewers. If you’re looking to try something new to you, consider the following options. [Read more…]

Edge of Seventeen Maibock

Beauty of Spring 5

This will arrive some day. When it does, have a Maibock in your hand.

Here is a recipe for a kräusened Maibock. The kräusening aids with finishing the beer and conditioning it. This is a light-colored (9 SRM) beer, fairly strong (7.0% ABV), with more hop bitterness (33 IBU) than a traditional bock. The malt, bitterness, and body are well balanced. The key to success in brewing this beer is to pitch an adequate amount of healthy yeast to the main batch and add some vigorously fermenting kräusen beer to the main batch as fermentation winds to a halt. This should take about 4 months to condition (lager) appropriately, but will be well worth the wait.


Edge of Seventeen Maibock

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units



Edge of Seventeen is a 7% ABV, roughly 17 °Plato bockbier brewed for spring. Lighter in color and more attenuated than a traditional bock, this beer is malty, but balanced by a firm hop bitterness. This recipe employs kräusening to condition the beer. The initial batch of beer is 4.5 gallons, and slightly more bitter than the target; the 2 qt. of kräusen beer added after primary fermentation brings the beer down to its target bitterness, cleans the beer up, and helps the yeast hit the appropriate level of attenuation.

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Kräusening (Part 3 of 3)


A pressure valve fitted to a gas in fitting for a Cornelius keg. If I added an overpressure valve to this, it would be a spunding valve. (It’s got a manual pressure release, so I supposed it could be thought of as a manual spunding valve, but man that could be dangerous if you capped the tank too early and forgot about it. Don’t do that.)

This is the third and final part of an article on kräusening

Kräusening is adding fermenting beer to a lager that has just finished primary fermentation. The active yeast in the fermenting wort help clean up diacetyl (and aldehydhes) before the beer is lagered. The yeast also produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and this gives brewers who kräusen an option to carbonate their beer by “capping the tank” — sealing the vessel that has fermenting kräusen beer in it to trap the CO2. Commercial brewers who do this have their tanks fitted with a spunding valve — a valve that holds pressure up to a certain point, and releases excess pressure above this level. If a tank can withstand 20 PSI, the beer can be carbonated to serving levels at lager fermentation temperatures. You can try this at home, if you make your own spunding valve.

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Kräusening (Part 2 of 3)


One batch of kräusen wort could fill all these fermenters to the top.

In the first part of this article, I discussed the rationale behind kräusening — adding small volume of fermenting beer to a lager beer that has just finished fermenting. In this part, I’ll discuss how to do it at home. There are few different ways that a homebrewer can kräusen their beer. Essentially, there are three ways you can come up with the wort you need, and a few ways to be in possession of the required yeast. In the case of the wort, you can either withhold some wort on brewday or make the wort a few days before you plan to kräusen.

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Kräusening (Part 1 of 3)


Kräusening reduces diacetyl and can help attenuate a beer.

Running a lager fermentation is, in many ways, similar to conducting the fermentation of an ale. The key differences are that you need to pitch more yeast, ferment at a cooler temperature, and cold-condition (lager) the beer after primary fermentation. In addition, sometimes you need to alter the conditions near the end of fermentation to produce a quality beer. Specifically, many lager strains will not adequately clean up the residual diacetyl (and other fermentation byproducts) if they are simply left to finish at their recommended fermentation temperature. For most homebrewers (and many commercial brewers), the solution is to employ a diacetyl rest. Near the end of fermentation, the fermentation temperature is allowed to rise into the low end of the ale fermentation range. The beer is held at that temperature until the diacetyl is gone. Commercial breweries test for this; most homebrewers simply let the beer sit on the yeast for about 3 days, at around 60 °F (16 °C), which is usually long enough.

There is another way to finish off a lager fermentation, however — by kräusening it. In this three-part article, I’ll discuss kräusening and one option that arises when you employ it — the ability to cap the tank and carbonate your beer from CO2 generated in late fermentation.

[Read more…]