Beer Brewing Myths – Holiday Episode – BeerSmith Podcast 29

by Brad Smith on December 22, 2011 · 10 comments

This week I invite a panel of three of the top home brewers together to talk about beer brewing myths for an extended holiday edition of the BeerSmith podcast. My panel includes John Palmer, Gordon Strong and Denny Conn in a wide-ranging discussion of beer brewing techniques and myths.

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This Episode Sponsored by MoreBeer!

MoreBeer is the sponsor of this week’s episode. You can show your appreciation to them on your next order by using the special order links here at – a portion of each order will go to support the BeerSmith sites, podcast, and newsletters.

Topics in This Week’s Extended Holiday Episode (1:06:36)

  • This week we vary from the traditional format for a holiday extended edition where we have a panel of brewing experts discuss some popular beer brewing myths. In a wide-ranging discussion we debunk as well as confirm many popular questions in homebrewing.
  • We have an all-star panel including: Gordon Strong, President of the BJCP, 3x Ninkasi award winner and author of “Brewing Better Beer”, John Palmer author of “How to Brew” and Denny Conn who is an AHA governing committee member and runs a web site at
  • The panel comments on whether too much sugar makes your beer taste like cider – we conclude its not the sugar, but a combination of other effects that makes some beginning extract homebrew taste like cider.
  • We discuss the merits of a mash-out step – with mixed opinions on whether its needed or not.
  • The panel comments on whether a multi-step mash is really needed. Some prefer a single infusion while others regularly use a multi-step mash.
  • We talk about whether dark grains should be mashed or steeped. In general the panel supports Gordon’s position that steeping dark grains is a very useful technique.
  • We discuss the myth that batch sparging (or BIAB) are less efficient than fly sparging.
  • We have an extensive discussion on whether first wort hopping increases or decreases the bitterness of a beer.
  • We talk about steeping hops and the myth that this can be a good alternative to boiling hops.
  • The panel talks about the advantages of rapidly cooling your beer and the rise of a new technique called “no chill” brewing
  • We conclude that mash hopping is largely a waste of time!
  • Each of the guests makes some closing remarks, and we have quite a bit of fun and commentary along the way
  • Thanks for listening and happy holidays to you!

Thanks to John Palmer, Gordon Strong, and Denny Conn for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Home Brewer December 23, 2011 at 12:08 am

Good podcast. I enjoyed the insight on the sugar myth.

Craig January 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Palmer was definitely the winner here, as to the amount of useful info brought to the discussion. If there is another one of these, how about keeping it one on one. The other 2 guys are on many forums, so we’ve heard what they have to say. John has knowledge and the education to back it up. Thanks John.

Graham Peel March 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

As a die-hard No Chill brewer (25+ batches at this point), it annoys me to see these guys act kind of cavalier about dismissing the technique without having tried it. I’m not sure why, but DMS just doesn’t seem to be an issue with No Chilling, even with 100% Pilsner base malt (I’ve done several – and not a single “creamed corn” beer in the bunch). Perhaps a good vigorous boil for 80+ minutes drives off all the precursors?

As to the comment about infections, “proper” No Chilling is done in a vessel that seals airtight. Google “winpack” or “jerrycan”, US Plastics sells some that are very well suited to this purpose, but as is mentioned about Dan Listermann, you can use a Sanke keg as well. Once the wort is placed in the vessel, it pasteurizes the inside of the container, and if the seal is airtight, no foreign bacteria can enter.

Todd Hughes March 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Arrggghhh! Re: No Chill. Please do not comment until you have tried it. You guys sounded like you knew what you were talking about until you started commenting definitively about something none of you have ever tried. Please stick with what you know and do not offer opinions on techniques you have never worked with.

Jeff Macdonald March 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Excellent show!

I’d really want these guys to try no-chill.

Adam March 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Great podcast. Something I’d like to add though from Australia where we seem to be doing all the stuff you’re afraid to try in the states. We have many no-chill brewers over here. You start with a clean and sanitised water storage cube made of HDPE. You transfer wort straight from the kettle into it while it’s above 90 degrees. You get it filled right to the cap, put the cap on loosely and then squeeze the sides to get as much air out as you can. Wort runs out from underneath the loose cap and then you crank it shut HARD. We then usually place the cube on it’s side and the cube is pretty well pasteurised with the hot wort for a few hours including the handle. The wort is then stable in that container for as long as you want really, we’ve had people ferment wort that has been ‘cubed’ for well over a year with great results. Cold break does indeed form in the cube, you see it at the bottom once the wort is at room temperature.

Something else I’d like to add relating to no-chilling that also ties in with what you said about hop isomerisation at high temps. Many brewers in Australia have tried not adding any hops to the boil but have instead put a large addition into the cube. The hot wort is then put into the cube on top of the hops. You get plenty of bitterness this way as well as flavour and aroma. There is something to be said about utilisation while the wort is still hot, I don’t believe Palmer really thought about what he was saying when he said commercial brewers would have 70 something IBU beers from whirlpool additions. If you look at this recipe for a beer made by Luke Nicholas of Epic in NZ he has allowed for a 5% utilisation of the flameout hops. If you plug this recipe into Beersmith it comes up with something like 25ibus however, drinking the beer it tastes more around 40ibus. Just some food for thought.

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