My name's Ty Stevenson and I am the Waters Brewer.
After 17 blog posts, I think that most of you know my story, a little bit about me, and a short intro into my background. You know that I was a Marine, College Grad, Siebel Educated homebrewer, with Entrepreneurial Tendencies, pretty terrible at grammar, came from a poor upbringing, raised by my grandparents, and had to work for everything I still don't have. I also have a mid-content Wolfdog named Remi and an amazing girlfriend who both take up my world.
If you want to read a little bit more about me, get to know me and my story a little better, feel free to check out any of my old blog posts (#1-#17), or if that doesn't give you the big picture of my life yet, simply add Waters Brewer on Facebook and shoot me a DM and I'll get back to you!
What makes some beers different from others:
Beer is roughly 95% water! Did you know that???
So lets think about that, if beer is 95 percent water, and people can change the way water tastes, that will most likely change how the beer tastes by like what...95% possibly? So if you have water from an area in the world where the water they use to brew is soft and has a low mineral count in their water supply, they might be able to produce some really good light beers like a Pilsner, Kolsch, or American Lagers. If you live in a area where you have hard water with high mineral counts, you could have a better chance at creating a truly great Stout, IPA, or Porter.
Water is a huge factor for beer that most people overlook because they think that just because the water they use to brew tastes good or ok, that it will be fine to brew with which is not true. You should know the mineral counts that are in the water you use to brew to make sure that it is optimized for the style of beer you are going to be brewing.
The malt is the backbone of the beer. It's what gives your beer all of it's color, all of the sugars that the yeast use to ferment and produce alcohol, and all of the sweetness that coincides with the bitterness from the hops.
You have Base Malt, Carmel Malt, Crystal Malt, Roasted Malt, and Chocolate Malt. Many people call these by many different names, but its basically just different types of malt to add different amounts of sugars and flavors to your beer.
Base Malt provides the base for your beer, most of the Residual Sugars for your yeast and the background color of your beer.
You can then decide to add any other sort of malt you would like where crystal and carmel will make your beer darker, but not as dark as your roasted and chocolate malt.
You can mess around with that, but I would suggest making your beer from at least 75% base malt, preferably 85% base malt, and then trying to mess around with the other malts to find out what works best for you.
You also have some adjuncts like rice and wheat which will change the flavor,sugar levels, dryness, fullness, and complexity of your beer as well.
Hops are the little green nuggets that give the smell of biter pants, some being more citrusy, piney, floral, earthy, spicy, sweet, whatever you may smell.
Hops are a good stabilizing agent for beer and will keep it fresher for longer. They are used to add bitterness to beer to counteract the sweetness from the malt, bring out the aromatics in the beer, and really give the beer the edge that most beer drinkers are looking for now days. This is just another way to mix and match how you want to brew your beer.
Hops are one of the main reasons you see so many different IPA's on the market these days because brewers will add different amounts, hop styles, and addition of hops to the boil at different times to change how the beer smells, how bitter it is, and how much overall hop presence is involved in the beer, allowing for there to be SO MANY different varieties of IPA's to be on the market.
Yeast is arguably the most important part of beer. It gives the beer the final defining flavor, it can make a beer more dry, sweet, full bodied, carbonated, alcoholic, or colorful depending on the different strain of yeast that you use. Most strains are specified for a specific style of beer and so if you were to use a different strain for a style of beer that it isn't approved for, your beer might not ferment, or it may come out really good depending on a ton of other circumstances, or it may come out terrible! I would stick to the guidelines for what style of beer each strain is supposed to be used with.
Without yeast we would not have beer. The wort would not ferment, meaning you would have no alcohol, so no alcohol, no beer.
Some other factors that come in to play on why some beer differs is the fermentation temperature, other additions to the beer such as fruit, oak chips, and spices, and then there is other ways to mess around with your brewing process i.e. BIAB, no-sparge method, split batches...
There is so many things that come in to play when trying to brew different beer. There's a reason there are thousands of different kinds of IPA's, Stouts, and every kind of beer...Because there is almost an infinite amount of mixing and matching you can do to create the best beer.
My suggestion would to be to get the brewing process down first. Once you have the process embedded in the back of your brain, then start messing around with all of the malts and hops, timing of the boil, mash, hop additions, the order in which you add your malt in to the mash, different kind of malts, different percent of specialty malt and base malt, different styles of hops, different yeast strains (what works best for you and produces good beer), and then maybe buying new equipment that will change your whole process and you'll have to get used to the new process now.
Find out what works best for you, and then just change things here and there until you truly find out what makes you the most satisfied with you beer.
Thanks for reading and I hope you learned something new today!
If there is anything that I can ever help you with, if you would like me to research a topic and write an article about it or answer any questions you may have for me, feel free to contact me, or leave a comment and I will make it happen.
As always, comments, likes, shared and feedback are always appreciated!
Stay True To You Brew!