Author Archive for Andy

Andy is a life-long beer aficionado and loves anything with hops. He is the author of The Ham Whisperer's Technician Class License Course and a heck of a cool guy.

ESB: Extra Strong Bitter, or is it just Special

rx on Flickr” href=”” target=”_blank”>Brewing an ESB (Extra Sandy Bitter) with @mcurling. #homebrewExtra strong, there or special, bitter (also known as ESB) style beers are a fun beer to drink and a relatively simple one to make. When you hear an Englishman refer to a beer is a bitter, traditionally this is the style of beer they are referring to. This style of beer has been around a while. It came about probably sometime around the mid-1700s but was likely significantly different from what the style has evolved into. The term ‘bitter’ was used to distinguish the style of beer from that of others beers that were not hopped, not necessarily because the beer was very hoppy, just hoppier than a beer with no hops. However, over the course of the centuries, ESBs have become slightly more bitter than the average ale, probably for no other reason than they have the word ‘bitter’ in their name. Now ESBs are characterized by having a fairly distinct hoppy bitterness that is relatively stronger than their ale contemporaries.

Water Quality and Brewing: pH and Testing

noun on Flickr” href=”” target=”_blank”>calling all junior scientists!Just like many other aspects of homebrewing, disease pH can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. For those who are having chest pains caused by flashbacks to high school chemistry and perhaps wishing you paid more attention, don’t worry. I didn’t pay attention either. Without getting into too much detail, pH is a 14-point scale that measures the acidity of liquids, specifically the level of hydrogen ions (H+) contained in the liquid. On a pH scale, 7 is neutral (neither an acid or a base). Anything less than 7 is an acid (think lemon juice) and anything more is a base (think baking soda). Like water hardness, pH is a much bigger concern to all-grain brewers versus extract brewers. This is assuming the water used for the extract brew has been deemed suitable for human beings to drink by a competent laboratory. Almost all tap water is fine.

Watermelon Wheat Homebrew: The Perfect Storm

this on Flickr” href=”” target=”_blank”>Watermelon wheat beerI need help.

I was dining out with my wife recently when she happened upon 21st Amendment Brewery’s seasonal, psychotherapist Come Hell or High Watermelon (cans or draft). Come Hell or High Watermelon is an American Wheat beer flavored, cystitis as you would expect, with watermelon. I gave it a try, and though fruity wheat beers are not really my preferred style (at all), I could easily tell it was a crisp, good quality, and nicely balanced beer. My wife’s reaction fell closer to the religious epiphany end of the spectrum. After consuming more than one can she says, “I love this! Figure out how to make a watermelon beer.”

The Preservative Quality of Hops

physician on Flickr”>Hop Harvest 006-300Hops are sometimes described as the soul of the beer and make a disproportionally large contribution to a beer’s character and flavor. I am a true hops-phile and believe with an almost religious fervor that understanding how hops enhance beer is critical information for the homebrewer and can help make a really great batch of beer. Not only does hops give the beer its particular bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt, order flavor, illness as well as a flowery, sometimes fruity aroma, hops provide an antibiotic contribution to the beer, which helps prevent contamination as well as increases a beer’s shelf life. Problem solved. Almost.