Homebrew Gadgets…

Three Ways To One-Up Your Homebrewing

Flavor Bomb The Flavor Bomb
Homebrew Licorice sticks
Homebrew Barrel Cask

Oh, the homebrewer. They are special kind of beer drinker. You can usually find them in the backyard drinking an unmarked bottle of their own beer, staring at pot of their latest brew waiting for it to reach its “breaking point.” It’s not such an uncommon scene to behold here in Arizona. Especially in recent years, thanks to an increase in local breweries and groups like the Brew Bros. and the Arizona Society of Homebrewers – the largest homebrewing club in the nation – the state has really become a force in the homebrewing scene.

With so much beer making going on, there are bound to be some “crafty” innovations in the brewing and fermenting process. Beer is good, but what if it can be better? Homebrew is primarily made from malt extract, malt, hops, yeast and water, but there are so many ways to enhance a homebrew – change its style or alter its flavor. It’s your beer, have fun with it. Below are just a few tricks we’ve found that you can use to one-up your brew.

Flavor Bomb
This little widget comes to us from the folks at the Grand Canyon Brewing Company. The Flavor Bomb is a patent pending, beer conditioning flavor widget that is dropped in a bottle of beer during fermentation. The longer it’s left in a bottle of beer, the better the flavor.

According to Rob Fullmer, president of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers, the Flavor Bomb changes the beer aging timeframe and compresses the flavor sweet spot.

“As a brewer, I can think of dozens of different ingredients that could be added at bottling time,” he says. “It’s exciting and it was invented right here in Arizona.”

Homebrewers can add a variety of flavor profiles like spices and woods to the plastic, cocoon-like capsule, drop in their bottle of brew and, like tea, let it steep for period of time. It has the potential to add a flavorful punch a homebrew.

Spice it Up
Making beer is very much like cooking. You can throw a plain steak on a grill and cook it to perfection, but spices and seasonings can go a long way. Adding spices, or even fruits, to your beer recipe is a great way to change it up and even make it seasonally appropriate.

Summer beers are usually lighter and citrus-y. Spices and flavors you can add to your summer beers include lemon zest, orange peels, coriander and ginger.

Fall and winter seasonal beers are typically warmer, spicier and right in line with the flavors of the holidays. Some ingredients you can use to spice up your beer are pumpkin spice, cinnamon, clover, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom, licorice and mint. The best part is that many of these can be found in our cabinets at home.

Cask Barrel Brewing
These days, beer brewing goes through a large amount of filtration and conditioning, but back before there were kegs, beer was a no-frills kind of beverage that we now refer to as “real ale.” The ingredients are exactly the same; the only difference is how it’s treated after the initial fermentation process.

Instead of being left in a keg, the brew is poured into a cask barrel and left to mature and age naturally, which means the beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized and still has live yeast in it. When beer has living yeast, it continues to condition and develop flavor and character even after it leaves the brewery (or your home). If you can get your hands in a wooden cask, you’re in luck. The wood will add a distinct flavor to your brew, something that you miss with the modern stainless steel cask.

Cask brewing is a fun way to play with your beer, and it gives avid homebrewers something to boast about. Keep in mind that because of the natural state of this ale, it has a very limited shelf life. Drink up!


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