The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Co., dedicated to promoting the community of homebrewers and empowering homebrewers to make the best beer in the world.
Before Vinnie Cilurzo opened up Russian River—the brewery best known for its sought-after Pliny the Elder IPA—he was part of a brewery called Blind Pig. That’s where his experimentation started on what is now Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA.
Today, Blind Pig has evolved into a full-bodied, very hoppy American IPA with notes of citrus, pine and fruit and a dry, bitter finish.
All the beer recipes featured in this article come from small and independent breweries in the United States.
More than 6,000 operating breweries exist in the U.S., and 98 percent are considered small and independent.
When you’re shopping for beer, look for the independent craft brewer seal. You’ll spot it in a variety of places, including on packaging and labels, at events, on tap handles, menus and websites. This seal signifies a brewery as being small and independent.
Learn more about small and independent craft breweries on CraftBeer.com.
8. Lazy Magnolia Brewery Southern Hops’pitality
Style: Session IPA
Brewery: Lazy Magnolia Brewery (Kiln, MS)
This session IPA is meant for sharing with family and friends!
Expect a bold citrus burst on the front end, with hints of tropical fruits such as grapefruit, orange and mango in the finish.
This hop-centric IPA has big, piney hop aroma that’s full of fruit and peppery notes. It drips with juicy citrus and grapefruit flavor thanks to the Citra hops, while the Mosaic hops present soft, fruit flavors like honeydew.
Conduct a 150° F (66° C) single infusion mash with 1.5 qt./lb. mash thickness for 60 minutes. Boil time is 60 minutes. Ferment at 68° F (20° C). Ramp to 70-72° F (21-22° C) towards end of primary ferment. Transfer to secondary and dry hop at 70-72° F for 5 to 7 days (or until desired level of dry hop is met).
*If desired, honey may be added 2 days into primary fermentation instead of at flameout.
Sure, homebrewers make the wort, but it’s yeast that makes the beer. The process of converting wort into beer is a labor-intensive task for yeast, and it deserves all the help it can get to conduct a quick but clean fermentation. One of the best ways to ensure yeast is empowered for the best fermentation is by creating a yeast starter.
When To Make a Yeast Starter
A standard package of liquid yeast typically contains about 100 billion viable yeast cells. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, that’s actually only enough yeast for a 5-gallon batch of 1.048 original gravity homebrew. As volumes, gravity or both increase, more yeast is needed. On top of that, the number of viable yeast cells in a package decreases overtime.
So, if you are planning on brewing larger volumes, higher gravities or using older yeast packets, it’s wise to pursue a yeast starter to ensure you have enough healthy brewer’s yeast to get conduct quality fermentation.
Dry yeast doesn’t need a starter. Simply take the appropriate steps to rehydrate dry yeast prior to pitching.
Equipment Needed for Yeast Starter
When making a yeast starter, you’re essentially boiling and fermenting a mini batch of beer. First you’ll need a vessel large enough to hold the volume of the starter and something to cover the top, like foil or a stopper. The vessel can simply be a jar or plastic bottle, but Erlenmeyer flasks that can withstand direct heat are a popular choice since the entire boiling and fermentation process can be done in one vessel. If not using a flask, you’ll need a pot to boil a small quantity of wort. Other than that, you’ll need some water, dry malt extract and sanitizer.
A stir plate, which can easily be made at home, is highly recommended to continually add oxygen to the starter, which is crucial in growing the yeast cell population in a starter. If a stirplate is not available, simply giving the vessel a shake every now and again is better than not adding oxygen at all.
Establishing Ideal Yeast Cell Count
It is important to have a target number of viable yeast cells when formulating a starter. This is determined by the beer batch’s volume in relation to the original gravity. Generally speaking, an ale requires 0.75 million viable yeast cells for every milliliter of wort per every degree plato, while lagers require 1.5 million viable yeast cells for every milliliter of wort per degree plato. So, for example, a 5-gallon batch of 1.064 ale wort would require about 227 billion viable yeast cells:
(0.75 million viable yeast cells) x (18925 mL of wort) x (16° Plato) = ~227 billion yeast cells
Determining Gravity, Temperature & Volume for a Starter
Gravity: Aim to have the gravity in the 1.030-1.040 range, which will promote healthy growth without introducing too much unneeded stress.
Temperature: In general, aim to keep yeast starters around 72°F (22°C), with ales being able to be a few degrees warmer and lagers a few degrees cooler.
Volume: Determining volume can be a very involved process. The volume of the starter in relation to the number of viable yeast cells added, termed the inoculation rate, will determine the growth potential for the yeast starter.
For example, 200 billion yeast cells added to a 2 liter starter will have significantly less overall growth than adding 100 billion yeast cells to the same volume. There are charts, like the one in Yeast: A Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation, that can help make informed decisions. However, you may prefer to use a program like the Mr. Malty Pitch Rate Calculator, which not only helps determine volume, but also the target number of yeast cells based on your beer’s volume and original gravity.
How To Make A Yeast Starter - YouTube
The Steps to Make a Yeast Starter
Now, all that’s left is to actually make the starter! The following are general instructions that can be applied to all sizes of starter:
Determine the appropriate starter volume to achieve the target number of viable yeast cells for your beer. Remember, you can use an online yeast calculator like the one linked above to quickly determine these variables.
Weigh out 1 gram of dry malt extract for every 10 milliliters of target starter volume.
Add the dry malt extract to the vessel you will be boiling in.
Add enough water to the boil vessel (dry malt already added) to reach the target starter volume.
Add about 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient to the boil vessel. You can use slight less for starters under 1-2 L and slightly more for ones larger.
Bring to a gentle boil for about 15 minutes. Keep the boil vessel covered to maintain as much of the volume as possible.
After 15 minutes, allow the wort to cool.
If needed, transfer the liquid to the vessel that will hold the starter. (Note: As with beer, anything that comes into contact with the starter wort post-boil should be properly clean and sanitized).
Pitch yeast into the chilled starter wort.
Use a stir plate or intermittent shaking to add vital oxygen to the starter.
Pitch into beer once ready!
How to Pitch a Yeast Starter
Starters are typically either pitched during high krausen or after active fermentation has subsided.
Pitching at high krausen, or at the height of the fermentation’s activity, which typically is 12-18 hours after pitching the yeast into the starter is the most convenient method. Simply pitch the entire contents of the starter into the wort of your homebrew once it’s ready.
Be sure the temperature is within 5-15°F of the wort’s temperature when using this method. If it’s too hot or too cold, it can shock the yeast and ultimately create problem fermentations.
Warm starters or starters with volumes more than 5% of the main batch volume need additional preparation. First, allow the fermentation to basically complete and then chill the starter by placing it in the fridge until it is near the temperature of the wort it is intended for. Decant the liquid and pitch only the yeast cake.
That’s it! You just pitched the perfect amount of yeast in your homebrew.
The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has identified and defined four new provisional styles. These provisional style definitions address additional styles that have emerged since the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines were introduced.
Provisional styles are drafts and created in between producing new sets of official style guidelines, but they may be used by competitions as official styles. Competitions should allow for these styles to be mentioned in the comment field and judges should reference the style definitions during judging.
The four provisional styles are:
Burton Ale: A rich, malty, sweet, and bitter dark ale of moderately strong alcohol. Full bodied and chewy with a balanced hoppy finish and complex malty and hoppy aroma. Fruity notes accentuate the malt richness, while the hops help balance the sweeter finish. Category 17A
New England IPA: An American IPA with intense fruit flavors and aromas, a soft body, and smooth mouthfeel, and often opaque with substantial haze. Less perceived bitterness than traditional IPAs but always massively hop forward. This emphasis on late hopping, especially dry hopping, with hops with tropical fruit qualities lends the specific ‘juicy’ character for which this style is known. Category 21B
Catharina Sour: A light and refreshing wheat ale with a clean lactic sourness that is balanced by a fresh fruit addition. The low bitterness, light body, moderate alcohol content, and moderately high carbonation allow the flavor and aroma of the fruit to be the primary focus of the beer. The fruit is often, but not always, tropical in nature. Category X4
New Zealand Pilsner: A pale, dry, golden-colored, cleanly-fermented beer showcasing the characteristic tropical, citrusy, fruity, grassy New Zealand-type hops. Medium body, soft mouthfeel, and smooth palate and finish, with a neutral to bready malt base provide the support for this very drinkable, refreshing, hop-forward beer. Category X5
Another year, another great National Homebrew Competition (NHC)!
On June 30th during Homebrew Con 2018 in Portland, Ore., NHC entrants and conference attendees gathered for this year’s Award Ceremony. Homebrewers were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals in 28 beer, 3 mead, and 2 cider categories.
This year we received a total of 8,405 entries at 12 First Round judging locations from 3,517 brewers. Entrants hailed from all 50 states (and DC!) and 18 countries. Since our first competition 40 years ago in Boulder, Colo., the National Homebrew Competition has received and evaluated over 143,000 beers, meads, and ciders! Read the full press release on BrewersAssociation.org.
The National Homebrew Competition is made possible by a very passionate and dedicated team of volunteers, judges, and stewards. Running the world’s biggest homebrew competition is no easy feat, so a huge “THANK YOU” to all who volunteered their time (and palates) is in order.
Until next year…
John Moorhead, National Homebrew Competition Director
National Homebrewers Conference and Competition Wraps in Portland
Portland, Ore. • June 30, 2018 — Over 3,200 homebrewers and beer enthusiasts gathered at the 40th Annual Homebrew Con presented by the American Homebrewers Association® (AHA) this weekend at the Oregon Convention Center, where they attended seminars, bonded over brews and had their beers judged in the world’s largest beer competition.
On opening day of the 2018 American Homebrewers Association’s Homebrew Con, the United States Senate, led by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) passed a resolution honoring the 40th year of the American Homebrewers Association and the man who founded it, Charlie Papazian, the father of homebrewing. With this resolution, Congress is celebrating the long history of innovation and excellence of our country’s homebrewing and brewing history.
In 1979, 34 entries competed in the first American Homebrewers Association (AHA) National Homebrew Competition held in Boulder, Colorado.
Today, the National Homebrew Competition (NHC) has become the largest homebrew competition in the world. The goal is simple: to celebrate the spirit of homebrewers. The competition gives homebrewers a chance to receive invaluable feedback on their entries and also recognizes the most outstanding, world-class homebrewed beer, mead and cider. Final round winners are revealed at Homebrew Con.