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Ninety-Nine Problems But A Beer Ain't One | Essential Reads Pt. I

Ninety-Nine Problems But A Beer Ain't One | Essential Reads Pt. I

Today on the morning news, we heard someone talk about how a majority of people who make New Year's resolutions abandon their goals within the first five days of the year. Seeing as it's January 5th, we figured we'd let you in on what one of our goals are for 2015: to read more. *note: It looks like our friends at BuzzFeed are on the same page. (No pun intended). 

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Week 07: Ninety-Nine Problems but a Beer Ain't One

Ninety-Nine Problems returns after a brief hiatus with this installation featuring advice from Golden Road Quality Assurance Manager Cris Carter. 

What kind of yeast should I begin brewing with? Is there a way to tell what different strains do?
— David N., Montebello, CA

Most homebrewers are no stranger to 001 yeast from producers such as White Labs or Wyeast. The former, also known as Chico or Sierra Nevada yeast is a very neutral yeast with good vigor and low diacetyl production. For homebrewing, it's important to select a yeast with good flocculation characteristics unless you have a refrigeration area to cold crash. Getting your beer clean/bright helps avoid yeast autolysis which is something to always be cognizant about when brewing.  

It's imperative to rack to bottle carefully as to not risk getting yeast in your bottles. Some sedimentary yeast is not a bad thing, but to achieve clarity, it's recommended to rack to a clean bucket or carboy first before adding your priming sugar (if necessary) then moving on to bottling. 

Selecting the right yeast boils down to style and flavors that you hope to attain. A strain such as White Labs' Hefeweizen yeast (WL300) will produce more fruity esters typical of a Bavarian Hefeweizen while WL007, an English ale strain, is a great one to use for brown ales, porters, and stouts. When selecting yeast strains for your brews, controlling your fermentation temperature is critical. If using 001 yeast for an IPA for example, a hot ferment would produce undesirable esters (and we can't have that).  Do your research when formulating your recipe and once you've brewed enough, you may even discover that a variety of strains combined will help get you to where you want your beer to be. 

For a run-down of yeast strains and their characteristics easily available in many homebrew stores and online, check out White Labs and Wyeast

Got a question? Let us know! Feel free to comment or e-mail with any of your burning homebrewing questions and we'll try to answer them! 

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Week 06: Ninety-Nine Problems but a Beer Ain't One

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How can I get more involved with homebrewing with other people?
— Kyle from Santa Monica, CA


Here at Golden Road, we love the many facets of our growing craft beer community. Whether it’s a cool craft beer bar, a specialty bottle shop, or neighboring local breweries -- all of these elements make up the patchwork that is our beer landscape. Another important part of this community are homebrewers. But how does one meet and network with like-minded individuals? Join a homebrew club!

In our quest to learn more about everything under the brewing sun, we’ve discovered that a great way to get hands-on experience in a group setting is to join a club. There are quite a few active organizations in the Greater Los Angeles/ Southern California area including The Maltose Falcons -- America’s Oldest Homebrewing Club. We’ve compiled a list of some clubs for you to explore. Many of these organizations offer crash courses and group brew days, monthly meetings, and even host annual events. If you’re lost or need support of other homebrewers, a club is a great way to meet new people and discover which methods work best for you.

Don't see your club listed here? Let us know! Feel free to comment or e-mail with any of your burning homebrewing questions and we'll try to answer them! 


Week 05: Ninety-Nine Problems but a Beer Ain't One


Week 05: Ninety-Nine Problems but a Beer Ain't One

Fermentation: What to do when your homebrew ferments at too high of a temperature


Adam asks: I just bottled off a homebrew I made (my 3rd batch) and it seems a little boozy. Is there anyway to improve the flavor of this beer or do I need to dump it out?
— This week's question comes from Adam K. from Redondo Beach, CA.

Temperature control is a crucial part of the fermentation process. Often times, when a beer ferments at too high of a temperature, certain off-flavors or an increase in alcohol levels can occur. When a beer is described as too hot, this generally means a warming, boozy flavor. If there are no other signs of glaring off-flavors (such as infection or high levels of diacetyl for example), then a brew (while not ideal) can still be consumed. 

When fermenting at home without much temperature control, it's important to always take note of the ambient temperature of the room your fermenters are in. During the peak of fermentation, temperatures can rise between 7-10 degrees. Avoid fermenting at too high of a temperature so that yeast won't produce such high alcohol content or estery off-flavors. Very high temperatures can also halt fermentation completely. Depending on what your recipe calls for, you can take precautionary measures by selecting yeast strains that do well in warmer situations to get that clean and properly attenuated brew. 

There is one option that we would recommend if you are on a quest to save a hot batch. Bottled beer can be conditioned over time, which can help mellow out a boozy brew. Make sure that you are properly storing your bottles in a cool, dry place. Assuming that you have properly carbonated your brew and have experience bottling, conditioning can help alleviate some of the heat, but will most likely not "fix" your hot brew completely. We recommend this for many styles that can withstand some age -- obviously, not a good idea for hoppier brews such as IPAs that should be consumed as soon as possible. 

Got a question you'd like answered? Have any pro-tips you live by? Feel free to share them in the comments section of e-mail! 


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