Greetings, salutations and happy New Year, Brewclub Members, from your friends at Mr.Beer®! These be turbulent and exciting times in the world of fermented cereal-grain based beverages, says I. Here we'll discuss some of the joys and sorrows that '07 (that ungrateful S.O.B. of a year) has passed on to its bastard child known as '08.
Of course, any talk of the upcoming beer-year must begin with the hop situation. If you haven't yet heard, you should probably sit down. To drastically understate matters, the '07 hop crop was a bit of a let-down. Mere average yields of crops in Yakima Valley (Washington) and Hallertau (Germany) were unable to make up for poor harvests in England, Australia, and Slovenia. While the world-wide harvest technically increased a little in 2007, this meager increase followed at least 5 years of steadily decreasing hop acreage planted.
Your biggest enemy when brewing in the summertime is temperature. A little excess warmth won’t stall your fermentation like wintertime temperatures can,but it can ruin a batch all the same. You’re in luck! If you haven’t heard, our offices are near the 6th level of Hell (in Tucson, AZ), so we know something about hot-weather brewing. We’ve found some ways to keep those temperatures in check, and we’re itching to pass them along.
Or is that the rash I picked up in Mexico?
You just said heat won’t kill my yeast, so what’s the problem already? Yeastie-beasties prefer a warm environment to a cool one, so they ferment more vigorously.
A whole lot of you homebrewers out there have been stuck in lager-land all winter long (there are worse places to be), and are just beginning to thaw out. Whether or not your temperatures are quite warm enough yet, this time of year is great to start thinking about brewing up some tasty ales. So what makes a great ale? It’s all about your yeast and temperatures…read on for more info!
Malts & Other Fermentables – Often, people fall into the habit of thinking about their beers only in terms of alcohol and hops. This is dangerous, because no matter how you look at it, your malts are the second biggest ingredient in your beer (after water). The quality and basic characteristics of the grain used will have a big impact on your finished beer.