West Coast Brewer Home Brewing Blog

Month: December 2013

MoreBeer.com End of the Year Sale! 10% Off Coupon Code!

If I come across an amazing deal I like to pass it on to my readers.  MoreBeer.com is having a 2013 end of the year sale that provides you with 10% off site wide, excluding Blichhmann products and gift certificates.

Click here for the coupon code and more details


The coupon is for today only ( 12/27/2013 ), but I keep track on home brewing coupons for More Beer, Northern Brewer and Mid West Supplies here:

Click Here for Northern Brewer Coupons, Midwest Supplies Promo Codes and MoreBeer.com Rebate Codes


Beer clarifiers – Is everybody clear?

Have you ever finished up the fermentation of an IPA or pale ale, excitedly poured yourself a pint only to be dismayed that that it looked more like a hefeweizen?


That is where beer claifiers come in.  Different parts of the home brewing process can contribute to chill haze or cloudiness in a finished beer.  Too high of a pH or temperatures in excess of 170 F during the mash can lead to tannin extraction from the grains which will cloud and cause off flavors in your beer.  Additionally, excess protein from big lighter colored beers can contribute to haze.


One of the best solutions that I have found to combating haze is a beer clarifier called whirlfloc. Whirfloc is a blend of irish moss and kappa carrageenan that encourages the precipitation of haze causing materials such as tanis, proteins and beta glucans.  Best of all, whirlfloc is inexpensive and easy to use.  About 10 minutes prior to the end of your boil, toss 1 tablet of whirlfloc into the kettle for every 10 gallons that you are brewing (half a tablet for a 5 gallon batch).  The whirlfloc bind with the heavier solids and sinks with them to the bottle of the kettle.


Whirlfloc can be purchased here: Click Here For Whirlfloc


Another great way that I use of fighting of haze in a beer is to cold crash at the ending of fermentation.  To do so, I will knock my fermentation chamber temperature down to about 35F which will help the yeast and other residual solids in the beer precipitate to the bottom of the fermenter.  I will typically allow the beer to crash for a week or two at that temperature prior to racking to a keg.  This can also help clean up the flavor of a beer by removing excess yeast, prior to moving it to a keg or holding tank.


Just let me know if you have any questions on whirlfloc, cold crashing or any other beer clarifiers.



Beer Clarifier

Beer Clarifier

Top 5 Home Brewer Christmas Gifts

Tis the season, and for those of you trying to find the perfect gift for the home brewer in your life, I have ranked the top 5 ultimate Christmas gift ideas for a home brewer. Since we all have different budgets, I tried to make the list as diverse as possible.


#1 Ultimate Home Brewing gift!

– A Stainless Steel All Grain Home Brewing Rig

Single Tier Home Brewing Sculpture

MoreBeer Single Tier Home Brewing Sculpture


Click here for a wide range of Prebuilt Stainless Steel Home Brewing Setups



#2 Ultimate Home Brewing gift!

– Blichmann Stainless Steel Brew Kettle

Blichmann Brew Kettle Home Brewer Gift Idea

Blichmann Brew Kettle Home Brewer Gift Idea


Click Here for a selection of Blichmann Home Brewing Kettles



#3 Ultimate Home Brewing gift!

– The Ultimate Stainless Steel Sparge Arm

Home Brewing Sparge Arm

Home Brewer Christmas Gift Idea


This Sparge Arm is Available Here



#4 Ultimate Home Brewing gift!

– Hand Carved Walnut Mash Paddle

Home Brewing Hand Carved Mash Paddle

Home Brewing Hand Carved Mash Paddle


This hand carved mash paddle is available here




#5 Ultimate Home Brewing gift!

– Yeast Starter Kit

Yeast Starter Kit

Yeast Starter Kit



 There are several home brewing yeast starter kits available here

Can, Bottle, or Growler? The Taste Test

Sculpin IPA, Growler, Bottle, Can Taste Test

Sculpin IPA: Growler, Bottle, Can Taste Test


I am not too sure about you, but I have always wondered if beer tastes best when stored in a bottle, can, or growler? It seems like one of those age-old questions that every beer lover has an opinion about, so I decided to do a test to see if I could figure it out.


During a recent home brewing session, I invited three of my friends (all self-proclaimed beer connoisseurs) to join me in a taste test to see if beer served from a can, bottle, or growler tasted differently, and, if so, which was best. They all happily agreed to join in the test. Before beginning the test, I asked each of them what they felt the outcome would be. Three out of four of us thought that the growler would be the easy winner, while one felt that a can was a superior storage method and would therefore be the winner. I personally thought the beer served from the growler would taste best.


I was fortunate enough to have collected a bottle, can, and growler of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA over the last two months. All three beers were served at the same temperature in a clean pint glass for each of us (that was a lot of pint glasses!). I labeled each glass with a 1, 2, or 3 on the bottom and my fiancee was kind enough to fill all of the glasses without telling us which beer came from which storage container. We then each tasted the samples and took notes on which we preferred.


What I found most interesting was that although each beer was very similar, we could each taste a difference between the samples. I had assumed there would be less difference between them. We then one by one gave our findings. To my dismay, everyone had differing results. My fiancee told us which beer was in which container, and 1st place went to the Sculpin IPA served from the bottle, while one vote went to the can, and the other to the growler. My personal voting went bottle, growler, can. The person who had thought the can would be best also put it in last place.


So what did I learn from my experiment?  For one thing, Sculpin IPA is delicious regardless of whether it is stored in a bottle, can, or growler, and two, everyone has a different ideal of what the perfect beer tastes like. It was a fun experiment, and everyone had a great time participating in it. I highly recommend you try conducting a similar experiment yourself and look forward to hearing about the conclusions you come to.