Turbid Time: Everything You Need to Know About the Hazy IPA Craze

A poured-out close-up of Heady TopperWhen your gaze hits the haze of an IPA known to amaze, you may rethink the importance of clarity in your favorite brewed masterpiece.

Up until recently, turbidity was considered shameful – a blatant disregard for adequate filtration during the brewing process that causes debris to remain in the beer, thus adding a murky tint to the color of the final product. It’s carelessness, really. Why spend all that time crafting a brew fit for the beer gods, just to ruin it before it’s laid to rest in its crystalline chalice? Criminal charges should be filed!

Not anymore, fellow connoisseurs. Today’s turbid beer – or at least the ones crafted by skillful hands – is hazy by design.

Introducing the “hazy IPA” that’s flipping the craft beer world upside down on its keg.

 

What is a hazy IPA?

This fairly new breed of brew has been addressed by many names:  “turbid,” “hazy” and even “cloudy,” but don’t be fooled by its aliases — they’re all referring to the same family of luscious liquid that many simply call “delicious.”

The concept originated on the northeastern coast in the Vermont and New England area. In addition to its iconically clouded body, the original hazy IPA featured tropical hops with a fruity citrus punch, accompanied by a subtle yet distinct bitterness. Today, the category is represented largely by one of its pioneering fathers and maker of “America’s most coveted beer,” The Alchemist’s John Kimmich.

A close-up of John Kimmich as he discusses turbid beer and turbid beermakingIf there’s anything John knows, it’s hazy IPAs. In this short video, he explains the nature of a great turbid beer and how its components can significantly change over time.

If you would rather not watch the video, skip down to the next line, and we’ll give you some important quotes from John, himself. Otherwise, drop down to the next out-dented paragraph.

John Kimmich says:

“When a can sits and ages, off-resins [and] proteins will drop out of the solution. The beer will become more bright as it ages, and you will get sediment on the bottom of the can.”

“Being unfiltered and unpasteurized, [the beer] continues to change in the can, which is not a bad thing. It’s just different. If you like your IPAs super young and green and raw, you drink it right away. If you like it to be a bit more refined and graceful, you let it sit and age. As long as you store it properly [in a fridge or cooler], you could age a can for a year, if you wanted to.”

So now you know how volatile a hazy IPA can be. In fact, Kimmich has performed a taste-testing experiment that proves a turbid beer can change by the day. Keep this in mind when trying to find the optimal flavor of your favorite hazy beverage.

 

Making your own turbid beer

DISCLAIMER: the perfect hazy IPA recipe has been heavily guarded by the people of its northeast origin.

That means the most exciting part about creating your own batch of turbid beer is that there is no exact science to follow. The possibilities are endless!

What we do know is that proper turbidity in beer is created by a process called “dry hopping,” or adding hops to a beer after it’s been brewed but before it’s been bottled and carbonated, some time during the secondary fermentation process.

So what does a St. Louis turbid beer taste like? We’re not sure yet, because you haven’t made it!

 

 To get started, you will need...

  • A St. Louis Wine & Beermaking IPA brewing kit or APA brewing kit
    • Includes
      • Malt extract syrup
      • Specialty grains
      • Hops
      • Yeast
      • Spices and flavorings
      • Grain bag
      • Priming Sugar
      • Bottle caps
      • Easy-to-follow guide
  • Your imagination! Get creative with your brewed concoction.

If you would like to use ingredients that aren’t already included in your kit, shop our large selection of supplies online or visit us in Chesterfield; our staff can help you in your brewing endeavors, no matter what your experience level.

Don’t forget to share your turbid beer creations with us in all their hazy glory on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TurbidTime. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Herbs & Spices in Beer – How to Use Them Properly

This article was contributed by: Dan Bentley from BrewConductor.com

When people think of spices in beer, most of the time their minds jump straight to hops. And that makes sense; hops are the main “spice” of beer, right? Well yes, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options which can enhance, or even replace hops, in terms of adding a kick to your brew.
In fact, the use of herbs and spices in beer predates the use of hops by many centuries. It’s highly likely that the earliest beers of Sumeria and Egypt were brewed using some kind of early spice or flavouring material such as dates and herbs. In 1985, Neolithic pottery was uncovered on the island of Rhum, this pottery contained remnants of a fermented beverage which was created using heather, meadowsweet, and royal fern.
While it is true that modern day beers are almost exclusively brewed with hops, there are some still out there which use heather, or which have their primary flavour derived from herbs and spices. As a home brewer it’s definitely something which, when done well, can really enhance your beer.
Before you jump in and start throwing coriander into all your brews, it’s worth taking a step back, and with any brew, looking at your recipe. Consider brewing with spices which have particular a style and flavour profile which matches the beer you’re trying to create. If you’re brewing a light, fruity beer such as a Belgian witbier, then coriander is a good choice. In beer, it doesn’t provide the fresh salsa taste that you might imagine; instead, it contributes a fresh, citrusy flavour. Whereas, if you’re brewing a dark, spicy porter or stout then cinnamon is a good option, particularly around Christmas time!
Once you have the right spice in mind, there are a number of important questions which you need to answer. How much spice? What form of spice should I use? When should I add it? Just to name a few.
When considering how much to add, it’s vital to keep in mind that a beer with a too-subtle spice flavour is far better than an overpowering one. By using excessive amounts you can easily ruin an entire batch of beer, and it’s far easier and less heartbreaking to just use slightly more next time, rather than throw away an entire batch of beer, no one wants to see that happen. Different spices have different suggested amounts for a typical five-gallon batch, you can find resources online which list every spice & the recommended amount, I recommend using these tools.
Deciding when to add your herbs or spices depends if you want the aroma, or flavour (or both) of the spice in the final beer, it’s very pleasant to simply have the aroma of cinnamon in a stout, rather than a full frontal assault from a cinnamon stick. Generally, the earlier you add your chosen herb/spice, the more flavour will be captured, but less aroma. To use our example of a light cinnamon aroma, you would need to add your cinnamon in the last 30 minutes of the boil in order to capture the aroma.
With more delicate flavours, such as sweetgrass, the aroma would likely be lost entirely if added during the boil, therefore it would be best to add subtle flavours such as this to the secondary fermenter. Another good idea is to split the quantity of your spice up, in order to capture both the flavour and aroma, by adding the portions at different points of the brewing process. If you’re going to go down this line, careful tasting and excellent note-taking are imperative.
Your local homebrew store is a great place to start looking for herbs and spices to add to your brew, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, try a supermarket or specialty food store. Some spices may require you to prepare them yourself; it is common practice to grind them yourself. A great way to do so is to use a rolling pin with the spice in a zip sealed plastic bag. Alternatively, you can use a coffee mill.
Using herbs, spices or any other flavourful ingredient is a fun way to experiment with your brews, remember to match your ingredient to the brew you’re attempting to subtle spice flavour is far better than an overpowering one. By using excessive amounts you can easily ruin an entire batch of beer, and it’s far easier and less heartbreaking to just use slightly more next time, rather than throw away an entire batch of beer, no one wants to see that happen. Different spices have different suggested amounts for a typical five-gallon batch, you can find resources online which list every spice & the recommended amount, I recommend using these tools.
Deciding when to add your herbs or spices depends if you want the aroma, or flavour (or both) of the spice in the final beer, it’s very pleasant to simply have the aroma of cinnamon in a stout, rather than a full frontal assault from a cinnamon stick. Generally, the earlier you add your chosen herb/spice, the more flavour will be captured, but less aroma. To use our example of a light cinnamon aroma, you would need to add your cinnamon in the last 30 minutes of the boil in order to capture the aroma.
With more delicate flavours, such as sweetgrass, the aroma would likely be lost entirely if added during the boil, therefore it would be best to add subtle flavours such as this to the secondary fermenter. Another good idea is to split the quantity of your spice up, in order to capture both the flavour and aroma, by adding the portions at different points of the brewing process. If you’re going to go down this line, careful tasting and excellent note-taking are imperative.
Your local homebrew store is a great place to start looking for herbs and spices to add to your brew, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, try a supermarket or specialty food store. Some spices may require you to prepare them yourself; it is common practice to grind them yourself. A great way to do so is to use a rolling pin with the spice in a zip sealed plastic bag. Alternatively, you can use a coffee mill.
Using herbs, spices or any other flavourful ingredient is a fun way to experiment with your brews, remember to match your ingredient to the brew you’re attempting to create, go easy on the quantities and try out different times to add them, and you’ll be brewing perfectly spiced beers in no time.

 

Dan Bentley is the owner and writer over at BrewConductor.com,
to find various recipes, along with a great extract brewing guide,
check out the site!

How to Behave Like a Wine Expert

Love wine? Check. Know the proper tasting technique? Check. Want to impress your friends with your impeccable taste? Check. Congratulations, you are well on your way to perfecting your wine expert status and becoming the Frasier Crane of your social circle. Here are a few ways to up your game and make sure everybody knows what a wine connoisseur you are.

Our Wine Expert Tips and How to Embrace Your Inner Wine Snob

  1. Drink Loads of Wine

Get drinking! Find a local wine shop and get to know the owner. Absorb their knowledge. Find out what you like, what regions appeal to you, and what makes a good wine. You will soon become the connoisseur at every dinner party that can identify the year of a Pinot Gris from a room away.
amy schumer drinking a huge wine glass St Louis Wine & Beermaking

2. Class up Your Glass

Owning the proper stemware is essential to showing that you know your stuff. We recommend Reidel as a classic choice. Know that the right glass makes all the difference, and remember to point out how wrong every hostess’s glass choices are.

Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey St Louis Wine & Beermaking

 

Different types of wine require different types of glasses. It’s always a good idea to have champagne flutes and port glasses on hand, as well as red and white glasses. Study this handy chart and memorize each type so you can correct your waiter.wine expert

3. Sip Correctly

Part of nailing the glassware is using the proper sipping technique. You’ll soon grimace at every person that grips their glass by *gasp!* the bowl instead of the stem. This raises the temperature of the wine and leaves grubby finger marks on the glass. How dare they?! Don’t worry, step away and breathe, you are not responsible for their oafishness. To show the group that you know how to drink, use the following technique: hold the stem and rotate your wrist so that the wine swirls, dipping your nose in so it almost touches the wine as you inhale. Then, take a sip, tilt your head back, and swirl the wine in your mouth before swallowing. Remember to spit if you are at a wine tasting.

Dr. Frasier Crane & brother Niles Wine Tasting St Louis Wine & Beer

4.  Order Like a Pro

Step one: Ask for the wine list. Step two: Make sure you are the one to order the wine for the table. After all, you are the expert. Make sure you know the region, vintage, and variety of the wine before you order. Knowing any less is just embarrassing.

Phyllis Vance from The Office St Louis Wine & Beermaking

5. Talk About Vintage

Whenever you speak of wine make sure you throw in the term “vintage” as often as possible. Pro tip: with old world wines, the flavors get better with age, but with new world wines (which is what you will mostly be drinking), it has more to do with what happened during that year. Soil and weather conditions affect the wine. Know what years are “good years” and make sure to turn away wine offered from those that are not.

Steve Carell Wine Tasting St Louis Wine & Beermaking

 

6. Make Your Own Wine
You can’t call yourself an expert in a trade unless you have tried it yourself. Start with some of our wine making kits and visit us at the shop to learn the technique. Who knows, maybe you can make a better Merlot yourself! After all, you do know everything there is to know about wine.

 

Live Fox 5 Stomping Grapes Gone Wrong St Louis Wine & Beermaking

7. Show Off Your Wine Opening Expertise

Don’t just wait for any barbarian to open the wine. Bring your own favorite bottle opener and pop the cork yourself – with agility and finesse. You know how to do it right! Ask the host if they have a decanter. If not, no problem. You’ve got one in the trunk of your Beamer.

While some of these tips are a little over the top, all the great wine snobs are. Whether you’re a wine expert or a wine rookie – embrace your passion! If you want to swirl and spit – so be it! We support you. Just try not to look like Frasier and Niles Crane while doing so.

Tina Fey Pouring Wine St Louis Wine & Beermaking

Health Benefits of Beer

health benefits of beerWe know if you are reading this blog you are either a beer maker, beer lover, or probably both. But, did you know there are a few benefits to your passion? It turns out there are many fantastic health benefits of beer. So crack one open and read up!

6 Health Benefits Of Beer

A pint of beer a day keeps the doctor away. A 2012 study says a pint of beer may be better than a glass a glass of wine a day. Of course, the health benefits only are benefits if the beer is drunk in moderation. Let’s look at a few of these health benefits of beer:

It Prevents Cancer

Hops have something called a “flavonoid compound” also known as Xanthohumol that helps prevent cancer.

Decreases Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin B6 is found in beer, which helps prevents build-build up of homocysteine. Homocysteine can cause blockages in your arteries.

Boosts Good Cholesterol

There is such a thing as good cholesterol that can reduce the risk of dementia and coronary diseases. Beer has the right type that could cut your risk of suffering from both of these diseases by up to twenty percent.

Beers Is Anti-Aging

Take a drink and watch the wrinkles fade away! Well, maybe it’s not that good, but beer increases the power of vitamin E which is an antioxidant and vital to healthy skin and anti-aging.

Improves Sight

It’s true that a beer a day could keep the eye doctor away. One beer a day increases your antioxidant level which can prevent cataracts. Just be careful, because too many beers a day and your vision will definitely become blurry!

Decreases Stress

Moderate alcohol consumption can reduce stress and anxiety, known contributors to heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol reduces the risk of dying of a heart attack and possibly reduces the risk of strokes. Moderate would be two pints a day for men and one for women.

So, brew your beer, enjoy a pint a day and live a happy, healthy life! Cheers!

Winemaking Ingredients to Stock Up on This Summer

winemaking ingredients for the summerSummer is here and so a bounty of fruit for wine making season! Are you ready to try blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, and more in your wine? By stocking up on just a few key winemaking ingredients,  you’ll be ready for any fruit that may catch your eye at the market. Not all of these ingredients will be necessary for every wine you make, but overall they are the best to have on hand and most used.

6 Winemaking Ingredients To Always Have on Hand

  • Wine Yeast– this is one you will always need. Just grab a container of a few different types. This is what turns the sugar into alcohol.
  • Yeast Nutrient: This ingredient helps to invigorate the wine yeast and get it fermenting at a quicker pace.
  • Pectic Enzyme – This aids in pulling flavor from the fruit, which will come in handy for those summer fruit wines we were talking about. It breaks down the fruit’s fiber so that more flavor can be released. It also aids in the clearing of the wine.
  • Acid Blend – This brings the fruit acids up to a flavorful level to make a delicious wine. Any wine recipe that calls for water will need this ingredient to bring the wine’s acidity up to a proper level for consuming.
  • Wine Tannin – Adds zest to the wine, as it is the peel flavor from fruit. Wine tannin also helps the wine clear and age correctly.

Have fun making wine this summer and let us know how it turns out! Remember you can also purchase a winemaking kit that has all the ingredients you need for a certain amount of wine. This is an easy go to if you are just starting or want to try a new type of wine.