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Hop Chatter

The best blog ever - 'cause it's just about the beer.

Homebrewing for Competition Part Two

Homebrewing for Competition: Part Two

By: Bill Ramsey | May 16, 2017 | in: Homebrewing

This year I decided to enter a couple of my homebrews into the National Homebrew Competition. The National Homebrew Competition is the largest homebrew competition in the U.S. and is held every year as part of Homebrew Con. Homebrewers from all over the country submit their beers to compete against their peers and this year there were over 8,600 entries. In order to judge all these beer, the first round of the competition is divided into 12 regions. The top three beers in each category from each region move on to the final round and are judged at Homebrew Con. From there, the best three beers are picked from each category and the brewer is awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal and the brewer of the best beer also gets a cool prize. The top beers in each category then duke it out for the best of show award.

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Experimenting With Craft Brewing

Experimenting With Craft Brewing

By: Ben Richards | February 23, 2017 | in: Homebrewing

My senior year of college was the time that I truly dove head first into beer. I started a brewing club on campus and also joined one led by professors on campus, both were a lot of fun for much different reasons. One of my best friends from college and I started making a lot of weird beers. In the fall, we made a 13% ABV red ale that we pretended was a barleywine that was awful (until it sat for about seven months, then it was suddenly delicious). In the dead of winter, we made a grapefruit IPA with way too many grapefruits squeezed into it, which turned out truly mediocre.

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Homebrewing for Competition

Homebrewing for Competition

By: Bill Ramsey | January 18, 2017 | in: Homebrewing

Homebrewing is a great hobby. Your friends will always love the free beer you share with them and tell you how awesome it is. But how do you know how awesome it really is? Most of you're friends, if they are not jerks, will tell you they like your beer and how great it is and how you should start your own brewery, even if they dump it into the planter when your back is turned. That is where home brew competitions come into play.

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The Great Pumpkin...Beer (Or How to Brew One)

The Great Pumpkin...Beer (Or How to Brew One)

By: Nate Reynolds | October 4, 2016 | in: Homebrewing

If Charlie Brown brewed beer, I imagine that he would brew a beer called "The Great Pumpkin Ale." Regardless of how farfetched this may sound, at least I have your attention. Pumpkin or pompion beers, as recent an innovation as they may seem, actually have a history dating back to the colonial American period. Pumpkins are indigenous to North America and have been used, at least parts of them, by Native Americans since 6000BC.

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5 Tips For the Aspiring Homebrewer

5 Tips For the Aspiring Homebrewer

By: Bill Ramsey | September 13, 2016 | in: Homebrewing

I've been a homebrewer for about five years. It's a great hobby and one of the few that the end results make you feel so happy. After brewing my latest attempt at the world's greatest Belgian Witbier, I decided to share the five most important things I've learned about homebrewing.

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The Basics of Home Brew Recipe Formulation Part 2 Process and Repeatability

The Basics of Home Brew Recipe Formulation: Part 2, Process and Repeatability

By: Ben Fredette | September 6, 2016 | in: Homebrewing

If you read the first post in this series, and as you research the subject of recipe formulation, you will find that it is more information than one should (or could) attempt to cover in a small format (such as a beer blog). Like the first post, this one too hopes to further coerce the budding home-brewer down the rabbit hole of brewing, and direct them to one or more of the many books on the subject. At first, those books, and brewing itself, can seem like such a massive topic that one may never dive in to it without some help.

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The Basics of Home Brew Recipe Formulation Part 1 an Introduction

The Basics of Home Brew Recipe Formulation: Part 1, an Introduction

By: Ben Fredette | July 13, 2016 | in: Homebrewing

So you took the dive and started home-brewing. After many trips back and forth to the LHBS (Local Home Brew Store), a pile of buckets, carboys, wort chillers, boil kettles, propane tanks and measuring tools now occupies a good sized corner of the garage. You’ve got a few batches under your belt, drinking your mistakes until you’ve made a few brews you were proud enough to share with your beer drinking buddies. You’re hooked, and moving on from those pre-packaged kits, into the deep unknown-- recipe formulation. Where do you start?

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An Introduction to Water Chemistry in Brewing

An Introduction to Water Chemistry in Brewing

By: Ben Fredette | October 27, 2015 | in: Homebrewing

When I began Home-brewing, I had no idea that one day, six years later, I would be emailing the head of my city's water department to ask how much calcium, bicarbonate, and magnesium was in my drinking water. Water makes up more than 90% of the beer, but it rarely gets any of the press. Hops, malt, and even yeast get more of the attention than water does. The contribution that hops make to a beer is obvious, especially with the popularity of hop-forward American styles. Drink an English porter, Irish stout, or German Vienna Lager, and the flavor that malt adds to a beer becomes obvious. The growing popularity of Belgian-style Farmhouse Saisons shows that we can appreciate the phenol and ester compounds that yeast bring to the party. The common denominator between all these varied styles is water, but what does it do for the beer?

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