Making Labels

  1. Brewers Association created guidelines detailing criteria requirements for making beer labels. Information should include beer net contents, beer label type size and legibility, beer class and type destinations, beer government warning requirements, beer mandatory label requirements, and formulas.
  2. Labely: This website reminds me of grapics from WordsArt on Microsoft. It is very simple to use. You basically complete a step-by-step process where you can pick certain designs for each step. You can upload your own picture, BUT it will only allow a small cropped version of it on your label. Definitely not the greatest tool if you wish to customize a lot of features. Great if you just need a basic label to differentiate your beer.
  3. Northern Brewer sells bottle labeling paper in four colors: yellow, green, blue, and white for $5.99
  4. Beer Labelizer: Very easy guide to making beer labels using their templates. There are some free templates but the really nice ones require a membership fee. You can also upload your own picture but like I said with Labely, this program doesn’t really allow you to customize a lot.
  5. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau also offers information regarding regulatory standards of beer labels.
  6. UPrinting offers various label templates depending on the program you use such as Photoshop, Illustrator, CoreDraw, Acrobat, and Publisher.
  7. Beer Clings are reusable labels that you can either customize yourself or purchase their standard template. 12 labels cost around $5 but if you want to customize the label it will cost more.
  8. NoonTime Labels: You can choose a label and input the information or customize your own label. This offers wine and beer labels.
  9. Zumula: Choose either a pre-designed label or customize your own. Offers both wine and beer labels.
  10. Online Labels: Offer different label templates you can download.
  11. Google: Just google beer or wine label templates and hundreds of pages will pop up.
  12. Reddit: I found that on r/youngjobs, r/forhire, r/homebrewing, or r/HBL there are plenty of people who can give you advice on how to make your labels or even offer to make your labels for you for free. However if they are doing the work to make your labels I suggest offering at least  some monetary compensation or if anything a shipment of your homebrew.

 

Malt Guide

Background

Most of the flavors and sugars in beer are derived from malt. In fact malt defines the various characteristics of beer.  Malt can either come from grain and dry/liquid form.

Malting Process

The malting process consists of steeping the grain in water and allowing it to germinate. During germination the starches in the grain are converted into sugars, simple soluble starches, and other enzymes. The grain then must be kilned  in order for it to dry. Some sugars are caramelized like in crystal malt or blacken it like a black patent malt. The malt is now ready to be made into sweet wort by the home brewer.

There are 3 steps to the malting process.

1. Steeping:

Barley is intermittently submerged in water for about 36-48 hours to begin germination. Enzymes are released and simple sugars supply energy to the growing embryo.

2. Germination:

The steeped barley continues to grow and enzymes start breaking down proteins and cellular wall components. The steeped barley remains submerged for 3.5-4.5 days with air circulating through the germinating barley that is turned every 8-10 hours to ensure even germination.

3. Kilning:

Heated air circulates through the product to end germination. Kilning develops malt flavor and color and dries the malt to preserve its quality.  The finished malt then goes to a brewery where it is crushed and water is added to it. Biochemical reactions continue to break down the starches and proteins in the malt. The wort (sugar mixture rich in maltose and other amino acids) is created from the malt and is converted to ethanol by brewers yeast.

The following is a visual graphic of the malting process from probrewer.

Malt Flow Chart

HomebrewTalk offers a detailed chart about the flavors imparted from different kinds of malts. Very informative.

ProBrewer offers a pdf detailing how to identify different variants of malt and kernel grains.
MALTS AND ADJUNCT CHART FROM BEERADVOCATE
The following is a growing list of different malt & adjunct types.

Type Description
Base Malts Base malts usually account for a large percent of the total grain bill, with darker-colored specialty malts accounting for 10 to 25% of the grain bill. The only exception is wheat malt, which can make up to 100% of the total grain bill in brewing wheat beers. Base malts and, to some extent, light-colored specialty malts provide most of the enzymatic (diastatic) power to convert starches into fermentable sugars. The base malts provide the highest extract potential. Dark-colored specialty malts, caramelized malts, roasted malts, unmalted barely, and other malted grains are added in smaller quantities to obtain darker colors and to enhance flavor characteristics. Depending on the style of beer brewed, the brewer may use only one or two types of barley malts, or as many as seven or eight. Other grains used in brewing include corn, rye, and oats.
Caramel Malts Caramel malt is made from green malt that is produced by drying the wet germinated barley at controlled temperatures, causing the starches to convert to sugars and caramelize. The major variable in the process is the roasting temperature, which determines the depth of the color and the degree of caramel flavor. Caramelized malts come in a wide range of colors, from light to very dark amber, and with flavors ranging from a mild sweet caramel to caramel/burnt sugar. It is primarily known for its color control but can also provide body (dextrins), mouthfeel, and some sweetness. Caramel malt will also improve foam stability. Light caramel malts accentuate the soft malt flavor, while darker caramel malts promote a caramel, slightly sweet taste, European in flavor.
Dark Malts Specialty dark-colored malts have little or no enzyme activity because of high-temperature kilning or roasting. Consequently, specialty malts cannot be used alone in a mash. These malts are used in relatively smaller amounts than light-colored specialty malts because of their strong flavoring and coloring components. Some styles of beers, such as stout and Bock, cannot be made without the use of these specialty malts. Amber and brown malts are examples of specialty dark-colored malts.
Light Malts Light-colored specialty malts are kilned at higher temperatures than base malts and impart a deeper color and a fuller malt flavor and aroma to the finished beer. Enzyme levels are lower than for base malts. Vienna and Munich malts are examples of specialty light-colored malts.Pale Ale malt is most commonly associated with British ales, and has the flavor characteristic of full maltiness. It is well modified, and is well suited to a single temperature infusion mash. It tends to have fewer enzymes, although sufficient enough to allow up to 15% adjuncts in the mash. It also tends to have a lower haze potential, and is less likely to produce DMS, which can lead to a ‘sweet creamed corn’ aroma.Lager malt is less well modified in the malting process, and so is better suited to a program temperature mash. It typically has a high protein content, and has a thick husk which is rich in polyphenols (tannins), which can lead to protein haze and astringency. The 2-row variety tends to be lower in enzyme and protein levels and has a thinner husk than the 6-row malt, but this quality depends more on the strain of barley used to make the malt.
Roasted Malts Chocolate malt is not roasted quite as long as black malt; consequently, it is lighter in color – more dark brown – and retains some of the aromatics and flavor of malt’s sweetness. It imparts a nutty, roasted flavor to the beer but does not make it as bitter as black malt. There are no enzymes in chocolate malt. Chocolate is an essential ingredient in porters and stouts and can be used in mild ales, brown ales, and old ales, and can be incorporated into the grist of dark lagers.Making black malt involves roasting the malted barley at temperatures so high that they drive off all of the aromatics (malt flavor). There are no enzymes in black malt. In excess, black malt will contribute a dry, burnt flavor to the beer that may be perceived as a bitterness different from that derived from hops.
Corn Corn products have traditionally been the adjunct of choice among brewers. They are extremely consistent in terms of quality, composition, and availability and produce a spectrum of fermentable sugars and dextrins similar to that produced by malt upon enzymatic conversion.Corn has a sweet, smooth flavor that is compatible with many styles of beer. It is the most popular adjunct used in American breweries. It lowers the protein and polyphenol content of beers, thereby lightening body and reducing haze potential. Corn will provide a somewhat neutral flavor to the finished beer. A “corn” taste may be apparent, making it generally more suited to the sweeter dark beers and lagers than to the drier pale ales. It is, however, one of the best adjuncts to use for full-bodied bitters. Some brewmasters claim that the use of corn (10–20%) will help stabilize the flavor of beer.
Grits Grits consist of uncooked fragments of starchy endosperm derived from cereal grains. The starch of these adjunct products is in its native form, and is not readily attacked by the malt diastase enzymes during mashing. Consequently, these adjuncts must be processed by boiling in a cereal cooker to bring about solubilization and gelatinization of the starch granules and render them susceptible to diastatic enzyme attack. Unlike in America and Australia, grits are rarely used in British brewing, as cereal cookers are not found in most traditional British breweries.
Malt Extracts Malt extracts can be used as a sole source of fermentable sugar, or they can be combined with barley malt. The malt extract comes in the form of syrup or dried powder. If the final product is a dried powder, the malt extract has undergone a complete evaporation process by means of “spray-drying,” thus removing almost all of the water. For simplicity, use an 85% conversion factor when substituting dried malt for syrup. Syrups are more popular than dried malt extract, possibly because they are less trouble to store. A common problem noticed in malt extract beers is the thin, dry palate, which correlates with a low terminal gravity. Another common problem is the lack of a true “dark malt” flavor in dark beers.
Oats The high protein, fat, and oil content of oats is theoretically a deterrent to their use in brewing. However, oats have been used in the brewing process, particularly in brewing oatmeal stout.
Refined Starches Refined starches can be prepared from many cereal grains. In commercial practice, refined wheat starch, potato starch, and cornstarch have been used in breweries; corn starches, in particular, are used in the preparation of glucose syrups. Wheat starch has been employed in breweries in Australia and Canada, where local conditions make it economical to use. However, the most important source of refined starch is corn.
Rice Rice is currently the second most widely used adjunct material in the U.S. in the production of light-colored lager beers (30). Rice has almost no taste of its own, which is regarded as a positive characteristic since the rice will not interfere with the basic malt character of the beer. It promotes dry, crisp, and snappy flavors and is employed in several premium brands, including Budweiser. Some brewers prefer rice because it has a lower oil content than corn grits. One disadvantage in using rice is the need to use an additional cooking vessel because its gelatinization temperature is too high for adequate starch breakdown during normal mashing.Different types of rice vary widely in their suitability for use in brewing. Short-grain rice is preferred because medium- and long-grain varieties can lead to viscosity problems. In milling rice, a certain proportion of the rice kernels are chipped and broken, rendering them unsuited for table use because of their impaired physical appearance. It is this portion of the broken rice that is designated as “brewer’s rice.”
Syrups & Sugars The British are known for their use of syrups and sugars, which are mainly used as nitrogen dilutents. The reduction in proteins leads to shorter fermentation periods, cleaner yeast, and sharper filtration (allowing more beer to be processed with the same amount, or less, of filter aid). Another advantage in using syrups and sugars is that the carbohydrate component can be controlled and custom manufactured to the needs of the brewer. Syrups and sugars also allow for shorter boiling times and high-gravity brewing, and they can be used to expand brew house capacity. Finally, syrups and sugars are handled easily in bulk form. Cereal adjuncts need handling systems such as conveyors, dust collectors, and milling operations. Brewing syrups and sugars, having already undergone gelatinization and saccharification, can be added directly to the kettle or can be used in priming, thereby bypassing the mashing operation.
Sugar Dextrose is also known as corn sugar and is available in the trade in the purified form as a spray dry or as a crystalline powder. Dextrose sugar is added directly to the brew kettle during boiling.Various grades of sucrose are used in the brewing industry. Few brewers today use raw sugar; most prefer the more consistent products of the sugar refiner. Granulated sugar, the normal end product of the refining process, may be added directly to the kettle, but usually is dissolved in a solution before being added.Malto-dextrin is the most complex fraction of the products of starch conversion. It is tasteless, gummy, and hard to dissolve. It is often said to add body (palate fullness) to beer, increase wort viscosity, and add smoothness to the palate of low-malt beers. However, it is easy to increase the dextrin content of grain beers by changing the mash schedule or using dextrin malt. Malto-dextrin is of interest mainly as a supplement to extract brews.Caramel is used in brewing as a flavor and/or coloring agent. For example, many milds and sweet stouts contain caramel for both flavor and color. Caramel may be used either in the kettle or in primings to make minor adjustments to the color of the beer, but the choice of malt grist and the grade of adjuncts added to the kettle will determine the fundamental color of the beer.Invert sugar is a mixture of dextrose (also called glucose) and fructose syrup.
Syrups The two major syrups used in brewing are sucrose- and starch-based. The sucrose-based syrups have been refined from natural sources such as sugar cane or beets. The starch-based syrups are produced from cereals by hydrolysis using acid, exogenous enzymes, or a combination of the two to produce a range of syrups with different fermentabilities. In recent years, there has been a great development in the range of starch-based syrups produced from corn and wheat. In the U.S., these adjuncts are produced exclusively from yellow corn; while in Europe, they are produced from corn and wheat. The starch-based syrups are commonly referred to as “glucose” syrups. This name is misleading, however, since the syrups contain a large range of sugars, depending on the method of manufacture – dextrose, maltose, maltotriose, maltotetraose, and larger dextrins.
Unmalted Barley Unmalted barley gives a rich, smooth, “grainy” flavor to beer. Unlike the other adjuncts, unmalted barley will contribute foam (head) retention to the finished beer because of lower levels of proteolysis. However, the nitrogenous and complex proteins that contribute to head retention also contribute to chill haze problems. Clarity problems make unmalted barley inappropriate for light beers, which is one reason why corn and rice are preferred. It is essential in dry stout, e.g., Guinness Stout.Unmalted barley can be employed for as much as 50% of the total grist, but it usually makes up no more than 10 to 15% as an adjunct. High levels of unmalted barley can lead to a slightly harsh taste in the beer. It can also result in insufficient malt enzymes for the necessary hydrolysis of starch, protein, and beta-glucans. Incomplete degradation of beta-glucans can increase wort viscosity and runoff times, which could effect the stability of the finished product. These problems can be alleviated by employing a beta-glucans rest at a range from 45 to 50ºC, the temperature optimum of beta-glucanase. Another approach is to incorporate fungal or bacterial beta-glucanases and alpha-amylases to facilitate starch gelatinization in the cooker and mash filtration.Roasting unmalted barley at high temperatures makes roasted barley. Roasted barley is not black in appearance; it is rather a rich, dark brown. It has an assertive, roasted flavor, similar to roasted coffee beans, with a sharp, acrid after-palate, and is especially used in the making of dry stouts and porters. It contributes significantly to the color of the beer, enhances head production and stabilization, and whitens the head on the beer. There are no enzymes in roasted barley. Roasted barley produces a stronger, drier, more bitter taste than roasted malt and is less aromatic and drier, with a more intense burnt flavor than black malt.
Wheat Wheat malt, for obvious reasons, is essential in making wheat beers. Wheat is also used in malt-based beers (3–5%) because its protein gives the beer a fuller mouthfeel and enhanced beer head stability. On the down side, wheat malt contains considerably more protein than barley malt, often 13 to 18%, and consists primarily of glutens that can result in beer haze. Compared to barley malt it has a slightly higher extract, especially if the malt is milled somewhat finer than barely malt. European wheat malts are usually lower in enzymes than American malts, probably because of the malting techniques or the varieties of wheat used.Unmalted wheat often is used as an adjunct by brewers who wish to enhance head retention and foam stability. It also contributes to the body or “palate fullness” of the beer. Its high content of proteins greatly enhances foam stability. Beers made from significant amounts of wheat adjuncts are likely to be light in flavor and smooth in taste qualities. Wheat adjuncts are used in the same manner as barley adjuncts; but unlike with barley, there is almost no husk in wheat. Thus, tannins are not much of a problem. The gelatinization temperature range for wheat is between 52 and 64ºC.
List partially compiled using descriptions from The Brewers’ Handbook http://www.beer-brewing.com.

Resources:

Brew Monkey

ProBrewer

Calculators

Because brewing is an exact science, every bit of detail plays an important role in the development of your beer. To ensure a quality product you must take every factor into account, such as ABV, IBU, SG, SRM, and other chemical reactions. Luckily for you there are online calculators that do this work for you. All you have to do is plug in your numbers and you’re set.

  • Brewer’s Friend: This is an AMAZING page of all sorts of beer calculators.  They offer a Recipe Builder and the following calculators: ABV, Hydrometer Temperature, IBU, SRM, Dilution and Boil Off, Yeast Pitch Rate and Starter, Mash, All-Grain/Extract OG/FG, Water Chemistry Basic/Advanced, Brewhouse Efficiency, Quick Infusion, Bottling, Priming, Keg Carbonation, and Wine Making.
  • BYO Recipe Calculator: Aids in formulating your beer recipe. Just input the size of the batch, the ingredients, and other process variables. The calculator will then yield the OG, FG, IBUs, SRM, and ABV.
  • TastyBrew: This website has a sparging calculator based on Ken Schwartz “A Formulation Procedure for No-Sparge and Batch-Sparge Recipes.
  • PowersBrewery: This offers a yeast strain calculator where you input the White Labs or Wyeast strain of yeast you’re using and it gives you the ID Number, Average Attenuation, Apparent Flocculation, and Optimal Fermentation Temperature.
  • Brewheads: They offer the following calculators: Change/Strike Water Temperature, New Volume, Force Carbonation, and Hydrometer Correction.
  • BeerMath: There’s a calculator for Calorie, Color, Scaling, and Gravity Conversion.
  • ScrewyBrewer: They offer calculators for Rest Temperature, Mash Water Volume, Cylinder Volume, and American/Metric.

Mead Glassware

Believe it or not there is actually a purpose to serving mead in different glasses. Start by knowing the different parts of a glass.

For instance, the lip of the wine glass is the top edge of the glass and can either be cut and polished top (left) or a rolled top (right). 

the difference between cut rim and rolled rim [after Riedel]

The opening of the glass should also be smaller than the wider part of the glass in order to concentrate the aromas. The glass should be transparent (no images) and colorless so that your mead’s color appears more richer. Wine glasses with stems prevents the drinker from touching the bowl so that there are no fingerprints obscuring the glass and that your fingers are not warming the wine above proper serving temperature.

Appreciating the aromas of your mead is another special enjoyment. As you pour your mead into your glass, the aromas will begin to fill the glass in layers according to their density. At the bottom of your glass will be the heaviest layer (the wood and alcohol aroma). Then the middle layer of your glass will contain the green vegetal and earthy mineral aroma. The top layer will contain the lightest vapors (the flower and fruit aromas). Therefore different glass shapes are available depending on which particular aroma you want to feature. Slender glasses magnify the lighter floral and fruit aromas. Glasses that hold more than 25 ounces allow you sniff through the layers by inhaling gently and consistently for more than 10 seconds.

The shape of the glass also affects how the drinker will perceive the taste. A glass with a wide top requires us to sip the drink by lowering our head. But a glass with a narrow top requires us to roll our head back and lets gravity do its work and make the liquid flow. This delivers the mead to different zones of the palate.

For instance Riedel Rheingau glasses (left) have a gently curved lip around the rim so that your tongue will unconsciously curve up when sipping. The fluid therefore bypasses the acidity taste receptors on the tip of your tongue and instead travels to the sweetness taste receptors on the back of your tongue. The Riedel Rheingau glass is thus used for meads that have a more acidic taste. The Riedel Montrachet glass (right) has a wide rim that steers the fluid to the acidic taste buds. This glass is used if you wish to emphasize the acidity of your mead in order to balance the taste. The I.N.A.O. glass (middle), commonly called the  “all-purpose” glass, is generally used for any mead.

Riedel's Rheingau glassI.N.A.O glassRiedel's Montrachet glass

Sparkling meads should be served in glasses that hold 6.5 ounces or more and be narrow and tall to channel the bubbles in a continuous stream or be tulip-shaped (with a narrow mouth) to trap the aromas and bubbles.

The following chart is from the Riedel Glass company in Austria.

Riedel Red Wine GlassesRiedel White Wine GlassesRiedel Dessert Wine Glasses

References:

2 B A Snob 

Mead Made Complicated 

Wine Spectator 

Yeast Strains Charts

BYO: Pick which beer you want to make from the dropdown menu and a list of yeast strains pops up.

Yeast Strain Comparison Chart: Compares yeast strains from Wyeast and WhiteLabs.

Wyeast Labs: Home Brewing Yeast Strain Guide: Offers yeast selections for ales, lambics, lagers, and belgian ales.

Yeast Calculator: Offers substitutions and the common styles of yeast.

White Labs Brewing Yeast Attenuation Ranges: A comparative yeast chart organized by attenuation range

Starting Your Own Brewery

A dream shared by both Jason and I (and most likely to many other homebrewers out there) is to open our own brewery one day.  I’ve done plenty of research about the topic and found myself overwhelmed with information upon information. In an effort to organize my notes, I realized that I needed to create a go-to list of resources integral to learning how to start your own brewery. That way I wouldn’t have to meticulously sift through my notes and could just access the information with a click of a button. I figured I’d share this online so other aspiring homebrewers could utilize it. If any of you readers know of additional resources please help a fellow homebrewer out and post it in the comment section. Thanks  🙂

Legal Aspects

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

If you’re curious about the beer/wine industry or want to open your own brewery or vineyard then TTB is the database you want to begin with. It contains information regarding drafting and submitting permits proposal, brewery qualifications, regulatory guidance, tax forms, certification requirements, etc.

The beer homepage offers an online permit application that allows you to submit and track applications for free. The average processing time is 79 days. The Brewery-BrewPub packet consists of supplemental forms and instructional documents to guide your brewery start-up. There are also monthly statistical reports available to the public. If you would like to familiarize yourself with beer laws and regulations then click here.

Brewers Association

One of the most popular business guides is the Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery. It contains valuable insight from top brewery owners. The guide is over 200 pages and splits into 4 sections: Life of a Brewer, Facility Planning and Operations, Marketing and Distribution Programs, and Planning & Funding Your Brewery. The Brewer’s Association website also contains business tools free to non-members. They offer craft brewing statistics, marketing tools, craft beer wholesaler considerations, export development program, sell sheets, marketing and advertising code, label approval guidance, and other publications.

California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

Whether you want to open a brewery or brewpub chances are you’ve stumbled upon this site many times. This website contains vital info about obtaining licenses and permits regarding alcoholic beverage sales.

Pursuing Education in Brewing

American Brewers Guild Excellence in Brewing Education

I personally love this website because it contains an extensive course catalog on classes and programs about homebrewing or starting your own brewery. The instructors are brewery owners, brewmasters, and lab managers. It offers distance education that varies in length depending on the program. ABG offers the following programs: Craft Brewers Apprenticeship Program (28 weeks), Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering (23 weeks), Working Brewers Class (22 weeks), Brewery in Planning (23 weeks), Grain to Glass Boots on Brewing (7 days), and Brewing Science for the Advanced Homebrewer (weekend course). The only thing is that the courses are so popular that they fill up FAST! You do have to submit an application to ABG. They require a high school or college transcript, work resume, summary of commercial or homebrewing experience, objectives upon completing coursework, and a $45 application fee. There is a scholarship available.

Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy offers online courses about brewing science and technology. Courses cover the Brewing Process, Brewing Technology, Beer Production and Quality Control, and the Packaging and Process Technology. These courses are definitely pricier but they offer 5 different scholarships.

Homebrewing Magazine Articles

BYO Start Your Own Brewery contains insight from three leaders in the brewing industry: Bill Moore (founder, brewmaster, and member of the board of directors of Independence Brewing), Jon Bloostein (founder of Heartland Brewery), and Bruce Winner (president of American Brewers Guild). They discuss the following topics: learning the right type of beer to market to a large-scale demand, distribution marketing, opening a brewpub vs microbrewery, etc.

Brewing Techniques Starting Your Own Brewery From Dreams to Reality teaches you how to conduct a feasibility analysis, what information you need to research, and how to determine the right location using a site assessment survey. It includes vital charts and equations such as calculating your own revenue, etc.

FabJob Guide to Become a Brewery Owner is a free pdf file that provides necessary information for someone seeking to start their own business. I would first start reading this guide and then begin researching from there.

Inc.com released an article titled “The Way I Work: Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione”. It lends specific insight to a typical day at work for a brewery owner. Told in a narrative style I found it refreshing and inspiring to learn what exactly would be in the works for us. I really like Dogfish so it’s nice to know that the owner of the company and his wife (the vice-president) are really down-to-earth people who take it to heart to give customers what they want.

Websites & Blogs

10 Key Legal Steps You Need to Take to Start Your Own Brewery is an article written by two lawyers Gregory B. Perleberg and Jeffrey C O’Brien from the Lommen Abdo Law Firm that have extensive experience working with local craft breweries in Minneapolis. The lawyers share their top 10 advice they’ve given to brewery owners. They discuss legal issues concerning entities, trademarks, names, lease, federal & state security laws, TTB, and distributors.

BPlans is a website that offers a sample business plan for opening a brewery. I think it’s important to know what other breweries have done before you and how you can either incorporate it or change it within your own business plan. The article gives an extensive outline divided into 10 sections: executive summary, company summary, products, SWOT analysis, Market Analysis Summary, Strategy and Implementation Summary, Product Summary, Management Summary, Financial Plans, and Controls.

Flying Fish Business Lessons offers a compilation of tips and advice that the owner utilized and learned throughout his path to opening a brewing company.

Hess Brewing Odyssey is my new favorite blog. While on one of our brewery tours in SD Jason and I happened upon Hess Brewing and loved it! I found their oatmeal stout very creamy and smooth. So when I realized that the owner of this brewery started his own blog detailing his steps in creating this business venture, well to say the very least I did a little happy dance before I began obsessively reading this blog.

How to Start a Brewery (in 1 million easy steps) is a blog following the specific journey of a father and son starting their own brewery (Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company). Offers very detailed insight in their planning steps and includes quirks about how they’ve overcome obstacles along their path. I felt as though I was reading a memoir. There are quite a few lessons learned from this blog.

Types of Meads

Because mead has such a diverse cultural background, there are many different mead variants.

  • Acerglyn: Mead with honey and maple syrup
  • Balche: Mexican mead made with Balche bark
  • Black Mead: honey and black currants
  • Bochet: Honey is caramelized before adding water
  • Braggot: Honey and malt; with or without hops
  • Capsicumel: Mead with chili peppers
  • Chouchenn: Mead in Brittany, France using buckwheat honey
  • Cyser: Honey and apply juice fermented together
  • Czworniak: Polish mead using 3 units of water for each unit of honey
  • Dandaghare: Nepalian mead with Himalayan spices
  • Dwojniak: Polish mead with equal amounts of water and honey
  • Great Mead: Mead that’s been aged several years, unlike short mead
  • Melomel: Honey with any fruit
  • Metheglin: Mead with herbs and spices
  • Morat: Honey and mulberries
  • Omphacomel: Medieval mead with verjuice (unriped grapes)
  • Oxymel: Mead with wine vinegar
  • Pyment: Mead with red or white grapes
  • Rhodomel: Mead with rose hips or rose petals
  • Sack Mead: Greater honey vol. yields higher alcoholic content
  • Short Mead: Mead that ferments quickly
  • Show Mead: Plain mead with only honey and water
  • Tej: Ethiopian mead with gesho
  • Viking Blood: Mead with cherry juice

References:

  1. Mead 
  2. Mead Styles and Mead by any other Names
  3. Comprehensive Guide to Types of Meads

The Greatest App for Touring Breweries!

The boyfriend and I love going to breweries and we have set upon a project to visit as many breweries as we can. Luckily for us we are near San Diego so its only an hour drive to taste all the glorious craft brews awaiting us. The first time  we did the trip it involved researching brewery tour websites, finding reviews on yelp, and then mapquesting a route to all of the breweries. But then I miraculously stumbled upon the BrewMapping Project.

Now this application allows users to enter a specific address and it will find breweries close to that address. Or if you happen to be going to San Diego then you can select brewery maps that are narrowed down to country and city. It uses google maps to show all the breweries in that general area. And it also provides customer reviews for all the breweries. It’s google maps and yelp all in one! Best thing ever!

The incredible thing is that this project is manned by one person. But the reason this project is so successful is because many brew lovers submit new locations of breweries, review the breweries, and add pictures. All you have to do is sign up (which is free) and this feature is available for you at once!

Storing Mead

“Store mead in a cool, dark place.” – (insert reference of choice)

Is that it? After all that meticulous brewing, does it all boil down to one final simple step? In a sense yes it does. But despite the step’s simplicity there are other factors to consider that can ruin the quality of your mead that you’ve worked so hard for.

A general rule of thumb is to consume your mead within 3 days after opening. If you’ve recorked it then you have about a week before spoilage. However there is no set timeframe of how long a mead can last before its flavors are altered. Afterall each mead depends on the quality of the honey.

When using corks, place the bottles upright immediately after bottling for two days to let the cork harden. Then place them on the side to keep the cork wet to prevent the cork from shrinking and drying out. If that occurs oxygen can enter and ruin your mead. If you waxed over the cork bottle then you can store it upright. For still meads, place the mead in a 55-70 degree F setting.

blog pic

Podcasts, Vlogs, and other Media

AHA Videos

Basic Brewing Radio and Video

Beersmith Podcasts

BetterBeer Authority Channel

Breckenridge Brewery Video

The Brewing Network TV and Radio

Brewing TV

Brewing with Bobby from NJ

CraigTube

CraftBeer Radio

DonOsborn Channel

Final Gravity Podcast

HomeBrew Talk Podcasts

JakeCPunet Channel

Northern Brewer TV

Ramblin Beer Video

Weird Beer Channel

Yambor44 Channel