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Ask A Brewer | Feb 10

Mr. Moss contemplates the meaning of life on the shore of Asbury Park, NJ

Every couple of weeks, we’ll be soliciting your brewing questions on Facebook for Brewer Dan Moss to answer here on Here are his answers to last week’s questions. The next call for submissions will be happening next week, so check in on Facebook to submit your question.

Patrick Boegel: At what stage of the boil do you add Mauritius Sugar to Local 1 and the Honey to Local 2?

Great question Pat. There are a ton of ways to throw some extra fermentables into a brew, but they all have different impacts on the finished product. Basically, if you want to optimize the aromatic qualities of the sugar, adding it as late in the process as possible is best. So, without spilling the beans, we add sugar and honey in the boil and our aim is to optimize the aromatic qualities of both Local 1 and Local 2.

Ian Cann: Hi guys, What differentiates dry hopping from the usual wet hopping, and what difference does it make to a beer?

Hi yourself, Ian! The term wet hopping is somewhat misleading as all additions of hops are wet, since beer is a liquid. Here at Brooklyn, we start adding hops as soon as our wort hits 212 degrees; that sir, is essentially for bittering the beer and balancing sweetness from the malt sugar. The term wet hopping refers to using hops fresh from harvest that have not been kilned. What’s kilning? It’s essentially a gentle drying of the hops to preserve the longevity and aromatics of the flower. Just as dry hopping is intended to enhance the aroma of a beer… Wet hopping does the same, although with some difference compared to dry hopping. The goal for both processes is to enhance the hop aroma of a beer, but wet hopping will ultimately add a “fresh-from-the-field” aroma that conventionally kilned hops don’t possess, as they have been dried out.

Drew Shalian: What’s the best way to get a position in a brewery? I want to become a brewer. Is there a school to get trained or should I just start home brewing?

Homebrewing is always a good place to start, and the homebrew literature available on the market is a great way to learn the process on a small scale. I started out homebrewing myself, but when I decided to make the leap, I went through the American Brewers Guild’s Craft Brewer’s Apprenticeship. It was a six month online/ correspondence course, and the Guild’s network helped me with my apprenticeship planning, which ultimately led to my current job. There are two other major programs in the US that I know of, UC Davis and The Seibel Institute, that have brewing specific educational programs.

Brian Dochney: Hey Dan, Long time fan, first time caller. What makes the BLAST! so delicious if it’s so over hopped? Is it true that Brian Dochney thinks it’s the “Greatest Beer in the World”ᵗᵐ

Thanks for “calling”, Doc. You usually refer to it around me as a big warm hug you can drink, but we’ll go with “Greatest Beer in the World”ᵗᵐ for now. Overhopped? Well, when you use the huge amounts of Maris Otter and pilsner malts that build the big, juicy malt base, you have to balance out that sweetness with something. For us, that something is copious amounts of hops from the US and UK, added at a number of points in the process, both in the brewhouse when we boil the wort, and in the cellar after fermentation.

Kathy Moss: Great can’t wait!

Woo Hoo!  I expect some real tough questions from you…

Jeff Krug-Bräu: Hey guys. I just racked a porter into secondary with some makers mark and some oak. I want to add some nice maple flavor to the beer (maple bourbon barrel porter?) How can I go about this best? Can I bottle condition with maple syrup instead of DME or table sugar?

Hey Jeff! Sounds like a mighty tasty brew you have shaping up. As you may know, we just released our very own version of maple porter called Mary’s Maple Porter. There are a few points in the brew process to add sugars, but if you’re already in secondary and want to try something fairly interesting, using some leftover maple syrup to bottle condition is a great approach and will add layers of flavor that DME and table sugar are incapable of providing.

Jonathan Zornow: For priming, what are the consequences to using plain ol’ table sugar instead of dextrose? Searching on Google gave me mixed thoughts …

Well, those sugars, chemically speaking, are very similar, so broad strokes-wise, the effects of using both sugars will be darn similar. The cidery character generally associated with table sugar (which contains sucrose, mainly) is actually a function of the yeast. If you do use table sugar at any point in the brew (I’ve had homebrewed belgian strongs that have…) don’t go crazy. No matter how much of those neutral sugars (dextrose included) you add, you won’t get much appreciable flavor. Hope that didn’t mix your thoughts any more than Google did.

André Adelar Hommerding: Hey guys, what´s the difference between the English, the Belgian, the German and the American Pale Ale Malt?

We use a variety of domestic and European malts here at the brewery and they all have their own complexeties that they bring to beer. For our Local line, we generally use German pilsner malts because of the light biscuity undertones that result and how they play with the other elements from the hops to the yeast in the bottle. Our Pennant Ale uses the grassy, earthy Maris Otter heirloom barley malt that comes through to support the deeper citrusy hop notes. From Belgium, we use aromatic malts that enhance the malt profile in many of our beers.

If you’re interested in the technical stuff like lab calculated extract potential, color, or protein content, you can probably get a report with that information from wherever you can buy malts from.

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