Welcome to R.J.’s Home Brew Corner! This is where I get to tell you about all of our new products, and why we like them so much! We'll talk ideas, what we plan to use them for, and even dip into some of our favorite products, even if they're not new! I’ll wax eloquent on everything fermentation, from fermented food to wine, mead, cider, beer and seltzer. I’ll update this page the first Monday of every month so you can stay up to date on the latest and greatest products and what we're doing with them.
If you want to see all of these new products, head over to our R.J.'s Home Brew Corner collection and see all of them together!
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New Products for April 2021
Brevis is a mainstay of sour and kettle sour brewers, and the Wyeast pitch, when it comes around, is a HUGE resource! With 100 billion cells in solution, this is ideal for kettle and fermentation sours mixed with a co-pitch of sacch. This strain is heterofermentative, which just means it will produce ethanol as well, which makes it a double whammy and a great tool in the brewers toolbox for simple sours, like Berliner and Gose, as well as mixed fermentation sours. Hit it at 90 F with a Kveik strain for best souring results!
I wish that this strain was year round, because it makes an incredible Kolsch! The diacetyl production is little to none (not that I can taste it anyway, but it's nice to know that you won't either!), and the temp range is quite a bit wider than your standard Kolsch ale strain, 55 - 70, giving you some more versatility while still being able to make a killer and authentic beer. When available, it's also a great strain to finish off a stuck fermentation, at least on beers under 11%.
So this strain is tried and true. I've literally used it to ferment an IPA, mostly in a parking lot during mid summer, and come out with a KILLER, malt forward and juicy NE style IPA. I don't necessarily recommend the 'parking lot' method, but it shows the versatility and cleanliness of this strain that it could be used and abused and still make a nice malt and hop forward IPA. Think of it like fermenting an IPA with the fruit forward characteristics of the 1968 (Fullers) strain, but with the attenuative power of the 1098 (Stone) strain!
Plantarum is by far one of the most widely used and most studied of the Lacto probiotics. It is IDEAL for both kettle sours and for fermentation sours, works well within a huge range of temperatures, and is easy and predictable. If you're just starting your sour beer journey, you won't want to pass up a batch with plantarum because it's one of the best and most consistent lacto strains you can use!
NEW MALT and INGREDIENTS
We wanted to do a throwback to our 90's hip hop roots! I know, I know, it seems silly, but these super cheap, high gravity beers are actually kind of hard to brew, so we thought that we'd have some fun! We threw on some old Snoop and threw a recipe together that made us think of, and drink of, our youth, resulting in this this surprisingly delicious and easy drinking modified American lager. Trust me, you might be skeptical, but try this and thank me later when it becomes a household staple and everyone is demanding a pint! 40 oz bottles sold separately....
So, full disclosure. We have like 5 different munich style malts. I know you've noticed, and probably thought that we are mental. The thing is, all of these malts are different enough to where they really can make a difference. So...enter Gambrinus Vienna. As long as we've been here, we've thought, "Vienna malt is Vienna malt, right?". Wrong. I've been super happy and impressed with the Gambrinus line of malts, so it was worth giving their Vienna a shot.
And...it's different! Surprisingly and deliciously different! You still get that delicious, crackery malt character that you expect from Vienna (we almost always use Weyermann Vienna, because it's delicious), but the Gambrinus stuff is that, with a twist of sweetness. I can see this being a hell of a tool to twist an IPA or pale ale with a bit of sweet cracker to round out the character.
Ok, I know that this seems like a no brainer, but there are still so many people that don't know that we have such an easy and helpful tool for the mash. Rice Hulls will not impart any flavor, soak up a minuscule amount of water, and can single handedly SAVE your brew day! The space that they create in the mash tun means no more stuck sparges, and can fix a stuck sparge in process. They're cheap insurance for every brew day, especially if you're using an all in one brewing system like the BrewZilla. Read more about troubleshooting in our BrewCranium article, and see if this super simple and cost effective solution fits your system!
Bear with me, because I know that Victory isn't exactly new, but it is exactly brilliant! It's an American version of biscuit malt, with some extra, crystal-y roastiness. If you've never made a 90%-10% IPA with Golden Promise and Victory, you're doing yourself a disservice, no matter what hops you use! Try our Victory Dance IPA, and revel in the character and depth of Victory.
Probably both the most versatile and cost effective All In One Brewing System out there, we've been using the BrewZilla for years. It's tried and true, and comes with a pump and a chiller. There is literally no easier way to get into All Grain Brewing with all of the bells and whistles. It streamlines your process, it's consistent and efficient, and the price is half of building your own system from scratch. If you're looking to simplify, or just getting started, start here!
Last month we talked about easy pouring on the go, but what about for extended events, like camping? Can you rent a jockey box in your area? If you're not next to us, the answer is likely no, but don't worry! We found some killer, ready to go coils that will fit into just about any cooler that you have laying around, and made them into a kit so that anyone can easily build their own mobile beer empire!
The coils are stainless, easy to clean, and the whole system comes with easy, step by step instructions so you can build your own jockey box for mobile pouring and worry less about how you're going to serve beer at your next family campout!
We've been using this beverage line, both on a commercial level at our store and on a personal level at both of our homes, for almost a decade now. I like it because it doesn't get stiff at cold temps, doesn't build up the general nastiness that you expect from your draft lines, and cleans up like a dream. Even though we're anal about cleaning and run BLC twice through each line, it's way overkill with this stuff. This is what I always refer to as 'lifetime line', because you really only have to buy it once.
I know this seems cliche, but for easy bottling, especially if you have extra after kegging, there's not a better product available out there! I like these because they dissolve well and quickly, and it's not too much sugar per bottle, giving you that over-carbonated home brew that nobody appreciates! We've used these for bottle and can conditioning, and they haven't failed us yet!
If you like hoppy beers and haven't played with Azacca, you have work to do! We've found it makes an incredible counterpoint to bright and citrusy hops like Galaxy. It also has enough dimension to speak for itself in a SMASH beer with heavy late additions, but through many trials, we've found it works ridiculously well in a team. Try our Andromeda IPA to get some perspective on how well it plays in a team!
An old school variety that, I think, everyone except Troegs has forgotten. Not only does nugget shine as a bittering hop, especially with bright finishing and dry hops, but it does double duty as an insanely killer aroma hop, giving you this unique and killer pine-herbal-citrus character that you can't really duplicate with anything else. Don't believe me? Try this:
- 12 lbs American 2 Row (or 7 lbs Pils or Golden Light DME)
- 1 lb Victory Malt
- 1 oz Nugget at 60 minutes
- 2 oz Nugget at Whirlpool
- 1 oz Nugget as a dry hop for 5 days
Sorry in advance.
A throwback to an old school variety, Cluster has come a long way in the last 30 years in how brewers use it. Originally a bittering hop, Cluster is somewhat widely used (by brewers in the know) as an aroma and dry hop to add some killer complexity, pine-y (almost cat-pissy) counterpoint to bright and tropical hops, bringing them out to their fullest.
I've used Galena in my hop arsenal for years, and only sometimes in hoppy beers! This is my favorite hop for all things dark and fruity, including big Stouts and Porters. It is higher alpha, but seems to add some killer currant characteristics no matter when it goes in. More, of course, the later you add it, but it always seems to round out these big, dark beers with some fruit to play off of C-120 and English 170, like it's made for it!