These files are of uniformly excellent quality and should be on every brewer's hard drive. Most of them are over 10 years old, but the info has not changed much except for the introduction of some new hop strains and a couple of grain varieties.
The Yeast FAQ. Patrick Weix's compilation of the whys and wherefors of our favorite form of fungal life.
All About Grains, Revision 101, primary author Jim Busch, gives a rundown on the characteristics of most US and European malts and specialty grains.
There is no Water FAQ as such at this time; however you can go directly to the Water chapter at The HomeBrew Digest's Brewery section, or to the summary by AJ deLange on water acidification. Plus you can view my list of brewing waters of noteworthy brewing cities in the main body of the page.
The website of the venerable Homebrew Digest, where some of the best brewing information there is can be found. Many excellent brewers give unselfishly of their expertise here, when they're not having a flame war :-).
Spencer's Beer Page. What more is there to say? One of the original beer pages. Helpful links, beer labels, FAQs, access to archives of the HBD, Lambic, Mead, or JudgeNet digests. But wait--there's more! He's a nice guy too!
The Brewery. Another classic beer web site. Technical articles, tasting notes, software library, and the one and only Cats Meow compilation of recipes; also an extensive archive of Homebrew Digests, including HTML-ized versions as they come out for easy, browsable reading. Unfortunately the site is frequently offline, however.
Glenn Tinseth's Hop Page, the premier source of information on hops on the web, maintained by Hophead Extraordinaire Glenn Tinseth. The best hop utilization data, characterized at state-of-the-art levels, are to be found here. Also, the link given above to Norm Pyle's outstanding Hops FAQ in HTML format for easy browsing.
How To Brew by John Palmer. The first edition of John's excellent brewing text, How to Brew Your First Beer, is available online for free in its entirety, although the 2nd and 3rd editions must still be purchased. John is a mild-mannered metallurgist and eminent net.brewer, and if you are relatively new to brewing, you can't beat this site... even if you're not that new to it! One of my biggest claims to brewing fame is to be cited in the acknowledgments to John's book.
Brewing Techniques magazine's home page. The best publication for home and craft brewers ever to exist. Sadly, BT ceased publication in 2000 but there is still much very useful information to be found here including a selection of archived articles.
The Real Beer Page, which was once focused largely on brewery tours but has become a repository for lots of other good stuff too, like events calendars, homebrew info, community forums, and much more. It is now home to the well-known web pages of Spencer Thomas and Glenn Tinseth, to name two.
ProMash Recipe Formulating Software Like many others, I have been using Jeff Donovan's program ProMash to forumlate my recipes. It gives full control over virtually every imaginable brewing variable (which can be a little daunting, but one catches on) and updates your inventory of ingredients as well. Very nice piece of work and highly recommended.
I've been a homebrewer since 1992, when I picked up the hobby while living in Bristol, England, during my first postdoctoral appointment. I've been at it more or less continuously ever since, except for a hiatus from early 1999 until mid-2001, when space constraints at the townhome I lived in, in Houston, made brewing extremely impractical. Like many brewers, I started out using pre-made "kits" consisting of a can of goop and a pack of dried yeast (the results were uniformly mediocre) before moving up to plain malt extract plus specialty grains with real hops, then partial-mash techniques and, finally, the jump to all-grain brewing. I made that last transition in 1995 while living in Sydney, Australia, where I learned a huge amount from the members of the outstanding brew club The Eastern Suburbs Brewers (ESB). I owe particular debts to Andy Walsh, who in his somewhat curmudgeonly way helped me focus on the most important factors in improving the techniques in my brewing and in learning to taste beer more critically, and to Ken Willing, who helped me better appreciate the art of it all.
On the left-hand column of this page I list links to essential information on brewing: FAQs for yeast, grain, hops, and water. I also link to some of what I consider to be the best and most informative beer.sites out there.
Here in the main body of the page, I provide some information of interest to intermediate and advanced brewers, mostly to do with mashing along with some things I have compiled myself, which are more or less exclusive to this site. These include my yeast-culturing process, my list of water ion profiles for some of the great brewing cities, a program to calculate IBUs using Glenn Tinseth's latest utilization data, and a discussion of what I consider to be the most sensible way to figure priming rates for our beers. The priming article was published with my coauthor Mark Hibberd in the fabled and much-missed Brewing Techniques, the best homebrewing publication there ever was (see link in left column). In addition, there are links to some useful utilities and software programs that make the brewer's life much simpler. I also give a description with photos of my own brewing setup.
In late July 1997, I learned that one of my articles (on priming bottled beer) was reprinted in the Australian brewing publication Ausbeer without any attempt at obtaining my permission. Although I am happy to share my work with other brewers, this unfortunate occurrence forces me to request that anyone wishing to use information or writing from this site please contact me ahead of time to ask first. I will almost certainly say "Yes, gladly", but I do not think it too much to ask to be made aware of things I have written being incorporated into other publications before the fact. Thank you for your cooperation.
My document on Culturing Yeast and Using Slants might help you become a yeast rancher, allowing you to maintain a lifetime supply of your favorite yeast strains.
I have compiled a list of the ppm ion concentrations in waters from several of the world's Great Brewing Cities so that you can adjust your own brewing water for the appropriate style. Ken Schwartz wrote an extremely handy utility back in the mid-90s for calculating water compositions, such as these profiles, called BreWater. It's free, and it works great-- check it out.
Many moons ago, I wrote a DOS-based program (yes, it was that many moons ago) to calculate hop bitterness levels using the then-new utilization data from Glenn Tinseth. The core of this program (basically one or two lines of code!) was used by Pat Anderson to build a very nice Windows utility. Dave's Beer Page is proud to be the Official Home of TINIBUw. It is stored here as a PKZipped file, about 103 kb; you will need to unzip it prior to running it. The unzipped file is a little over 210kb and runs under all flavors of Windows.
In late 1995, the late, great mathematician and brewing scientist Dr. George Fix reported on a subject that had been recently resurrected in the brewing literature known as First Wort Hopping. I have compiled a summary of the main article on this procedure for your perusal, including some subjective commentary from several net.brewers. I also acknowledge the excellent insights of the Austrian craft brewer Hubert Hanghofer on this topic.
To see a profusely illustrated rundown on my brewing setup, follow this link.
In 1993, Kelly Jones posted to the Homebrew Digest with a good writeup of calculating amounts and temperatures of infusion water so that we can accurately hit our temperature targets in infusion mashing. This treatment is general enough to use for one or more infusions, and his post is reproduced here:
In HBD #1206, Andy Phillips asks about the heat capacity of crushed malt, to be used for calculations of infusion mashes. I have found that the number 1350 (where water is about 4200) to work well for me. I believe the units re J/Kg/K, but this is not important. Alternately, one could use the dimensionless number 0.32 for the malt, where water is equal to one. Of course, this will vary somewhat depending on the type of malt used, the moisture content of the malt, etc. but this should be a good starting point.
For those not familiar with these calculations, I will present them here:
Cpm= heat capacity of your malt, about 0.32 Cpw= heat capacity of water, 1.0 Mw = mass of water used Mm = mass of malt used Tw = temperature of strike water Tm = beginning temperature of malt (usually room temperature) Tf = final temperature of mixture (rest temp)
Masses and temperatures can be in any units, as long as you are consistent.
The basic formula, then, is
(1) Tf = (Cpm*Mm*Tm + Cpw*Mw*Tw)/(Cpm*Mm+Cpw*Mw)
This can be rearranged in many ways to solve for the desired unknown. For example, if we want to know the quantity of water to add to result in a desired protein rest temperature, we can write
(2) Mw = Cpm*Mm*(Tf-Tm)/(Cpw*(Tw-Tf)) or, using the numbers for Cpm&Cpw, (3) Mw = .32*Mm*(Tf-Tm)/(Tw-Tf)
SO, suppose you have 4Kg of malt at 25C, and you want to add some quantity of water at 54C to achieve a protein rest temperature of 50C:
Mw = .32*4*(50-25)/(54-50) = 8Kg of water
These formulas can also be used to calculate additional water quantities to raise the mash temp further. However, different variables must be used: Instead of Mm, we will substitute Mmash, the mass of the mash, equal to the total mass of malt and water used so far; for Tm, we will substitute Tmash; and for Cpm, we must use Cpmash, calculated as
Cpmash = (Cpm*Mm +Cpw*Mw)/(Mm+Mw) Thus, the revised formula (2) is Mw = Cpmash*Mmash*(Tf-Tmash)/(Tw-Tf)
Continuing our example, we have Mmash = 4Kg +8Kg = 12Kg, Cpmash = (.32*4+1*8)/(4+8)= .773. Suppose our mash temp is still at 50C, and we want to raise it to 66C for a saccharification rest using some quantity of water at 100C. Then
Mw = .773*12*(66-50)/(100-50) = 3Kg of additional (boiling) water.
Some simplifying assumptions have been made here, but they seem to work out just fine. (So please don't get on my case about enthalpies of mixing, non-additive Cp's, etc.) You may need to play around with the value of Cpm to get these equations to work out better for you. Also remember that your mash tun will absorb some heat, resulting in a rest temperature slightly lower than that predicted here. You may want to shoot for a degree or so higher to compensate. Note that your boiling water temp may not be 100C. Equation (1) may be rearranged, if instead it is desired to know, for example, what water temperature should be used to obtain a given temperature rest for a given volume of water (if one is shooting for some specific mash thickness).
Dave's note: These equations, or others very much like them, form the basis of the mash-temperature calculations in programs like SUDS and ProMash.
I have pasted together three HBD posts from 1994 by the aforementioned and much-missed Dr. George Fix on his now-famous 40-60-70 mashing schedule. Find out from the source the whys and wherefors of this scheme. The posts also discuss the Meaning of Protein Modification. Required reading at the Academy.
I have a longish document on what I consider to be the best way to calculate priming rates for desired levels of carbonation, as measured in volumes of CO2. I advocate a system in which we measure priming sugar in weight per volume to be primed rather than the traditional 3/4 cup per 5 gallons. I have done a simple experiment to test whether volume or weight is a better way to measure sugar amounts. Full details are to be found in this document. An even more detailed treatment of this subject appeared in the July/August 1996 issue of Brewing Techniques. A 3-megabyte PDF file of that article can be downloaded here.