The Next 10 Years In Homebrewing
Homebrewing changed a lot between 2010 and 2020. There are more providers of commercial yeast, and new blends and varieties that we definitely did not see a decade ago. Kveik can be purchased commercially from several sources. Escarpment Laboratories and Omega Yeast Labs each have several varieties of live liquid kveik available. White Labs offers Opshaug and Lallemand has a dry Voss kveik available. “Wild” and sour cultures are widely available now, as are blends. I believe we’ll see amazing things happening with yeast and genetics—I have heard rumour of a lager yeast that doesn’t produce sulphur compounds. The next ten years may be even more exciting than the last ten.
In the past decade we have witnessed the rise of the East Coast Hazy IPA as well as some other new styles. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) guidelines were updated to include some of those new styles and reorganize classic styles. The IPA category saw the additions of Belgian, Black, Brown, Red, Rye, and White subcategories. We have also seen unrecognized styles created, such as brut IPA, some crazy experimentation, such as glitter beer, cereal beer, and pastry stouts.
Homebrewers have embraced sours and funky beers. Milk the Funk Facebook group has twenty-six thousand members and is an amazing source of information for brewers working with wee beasties that aren’t yeast and using alternative techniques for brewing. Many yeast suppliers are providing yeast blends for making funky beers. Imperial Yeast sells a blend of two Brettanomyces strains, Lactobacillus, and a low attenuating Belgian saison yeast called Sour Batch Kidz. It can be used for lambics, farmhouse ales, Flanders reds and any other beer you wanna get funky with. Bootleg Biology sells kits to help you capture wild yeast as well as providing some unusual strains.
The past decade has seen some myths disproved. Brulosophy exBEERiments began in 2014 and have performed over 280 experiments to help answer some age-old questions about technique and ingredients. One of my favourites was their comparison of two identical batches of beer, one with major hot side aeration, and the other without. For years, brewers have been careful to minimize hot side aeration, but this particular experiment shows no discernible difference in the finished product.
The twenty-tens also brought us a better selection of equipment and tools. The simple carboy has evolved a much larger mouth, making them easier to clean and sanitize. And PET makes a safer and lighter fermentation vessel than glass. Look for FerMonster, Big Mouth Bubbler, or Speidel’s Garfass.
Wireless digital hydrometers are a thing now, with units like Tilt and Beerbug. These units monitor gravity continuously for a real-time report on fermentation status.
All-in-one brewing systems like the Grainfather and Robobrew have entered into the market and become quite popular.
We have had new hops enter the homebrew market. Cashmere, Sabro, Equinox, Mandarina Bavaria, Azacco, Hopsteiner Lemondrop, and many more new varieties have been introduced in the past decade. Some hop farmers are working on new crosses that could become the hot new variety in a few years, while others are concentrating on blending existing varieties to create the flavour profile the brewer wants. I predict we will see more hop blends like Falconers Flight or the Pink Boots Blend.
Cryo hops have made a major impact on hazy IPAs since being introduced a few years ago. The by-product of manufacturing Cryo hops is referred to as de-bittered hops and can be used in low-IBU beers.
Small craft malting companies sell higher quality malt. We will see some big changes in the yeast world and I am sure some new styles will emerge. I’m excited to see what the next decade brings and how it affects homebrewing. If it’s anything like the past decade, it will be transformative.
Now go brew a brand-new style of beer. Cheers.
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