Category Archives: News

6th Annual Cowtown Yeast Wranglers Homebrew Roundup Competition 2014 – Calgary, Alberta

6th Annual
Cowtown Homebrew Roundup

Feb 19 – 22, 2014

Wild Rose Brewery

Calgary, Alberta

The Cowtown Yeast WRanglers are proud to announce the 6th Annual Cowtown Homebrew Roundup, to be held at Wild Rose Brewery on 19-22 February 2014.

We welcome entries of beer, mead and cider from all individuals and clubs. Last year we received more than 350 entries that came all the way from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, and we hope to see even more this year!

Please register all your entries using our online registration system. Entries and fee payment ($5/entry) must be received by 14 February 2014 at Wild Rose Brewery. Our full rules and competition guidelines are available here

The top homebrews in each category will receive a competition medal and will also qualify for points toward the Canadian Brewer of the Year Award. Come celebrate with our winners who will be showered with fabulous prizes at our Gala & Award Dinner to be held at the Wild Rose Taproom on Saturday, February 22th. We hope to see you there!

More details at the Cowtown Yeast Wranglers website


Beer brewing diploma at Kwantlen targets B.C.’s explosion of microbreweries

Beer brewing diploma at Kwantlen targets B.C.’s explosion of microbreweries
Beer brewing diploma at Kwantlen targets B.C.’s explosion of microbreweries

Kwantlen Polytechnic University is serving up exciting news for beer lovers.

The institute is launching a two-year diploma in brewing and brewery operations beginning in September 2014.

The first brewing program in B.C will provide students with hands-on experience using the Langley campus’s specially designed brew laboratory. The lab is currently in development, but it will allow the selected 35 students to brew batches from scratch.

“We found out from our advisory committee that there’s a big need for people who have training,” said Michelle Molnar, the dean’s assistant for the faculty of science and horticulture.

British Columbia has 72 breweries, second only to Ontario, according to a study commissioned by Beer Canada.

“A lot of (brewers) said, ‘people are interested in working for us but they don’t have any schooling and they don’t have any formal training,’ and that’s what we’re trying to provide.”

There will be an option to bridge the diploma into a science, trade or business degree. Also, after the first year of the program, students will fulfill a work placement requirement.

Continue for full Metronews article…

Home Brew Basics


For the full article, visit Ladybud.

If you are a fan of good beer – not the mass-produced mega-corporation style swill that is forced on us through endless streams of commercials – then you have no doubt witnessed the explosion of craft beer over the past few years. Hundreds of microbrews now pack the shelves at your local liquor stores. Finally, beer with flavor and character is available for the masses. Supporting local “Mom and Pop” businesses and breweries AND enjoying quality beer is now possible.

The popularity of these microbrews has led many beer-lovers to question how beer is made and what is involved. As a result, home brewing has quickly grown in popularity. Who doesn’t want to just walk into the kitchen and grab a fresh, delicious beer – one where you know every single ingredient used to make it? If the ingredients are chosen carefully, gone are the issues of headaches due to preservatives and chemical additives, gone are any issues of GMO’s in the beer, and gone are possible allergic reactions.

You may be thinking of trying this out for yourself, but you probably have a lot of questions. Fortunately, there are multiple sources of information and help out there, and that home brewers are generally a fun and helpful group of people.

Here’s a little Q&A to help you get started:

“Isn’t there a large amount of equipment required?”
Generally, to brew beer at home, some equipment is required. At a minimum, you need a large stock pot – roughly 5 gallons in capacity, a 5-gallon plastic bottle with an airlock (also called a fermentor), a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a spigot and bottling equipment (to get the beer from the fermentor and into bottles), and cleaning/sanitizing equipment – nothing worse than spending the time to brew your beer only to have it get funky on you (in a bad way). Of course, you can always go “bigger” and more advanced – with kegging systems, brewing stands, and other pieces of specialized equipment.

“Does it cost a lot of money to get started?”
You can find pre-packaged starter kits at the multitude of brewing stores that have sprung up in the past few years. Depending of the size of the batch of beer you want to brew and the complexity level of your brewing kit, it should cost anywhere from $80 – $200 to get started initially. Of course, you can go big and it could cost in the $1,000’s.

“Do I have to keep buying equipment?”
Not typically. If you keep your equipment clean and sanitize it properly, you can re-use almost everything (except bottle caps, cleansers, and ingredients). Keep reusing your bottles and bottling equipment.

“How long does it take?”
Brew day can take a few hours. It typically consists of bringing 2-3 gallons of water up to a boil, adding ingredients, boiling for an hour, quickly cooling the batch down, adding the yeast, and transferring it to a fermentor. After the beer starts fermenting, it can be ready for bottling in as little as two weeks or upwards of three months, depending on the style of beer you are making. After that, you can either bottle it, or keg it. If you bottle it, it can take about two weeks to carbonate. Kegging will yield drinkable beer in a matter of a few days.

These are just the very basics of getting started in home brewing. As you learn more, you can create more complex beers that can rival those of the big breweries. But even with a simple brew, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself and you know what is in your beer. Plus, giving home brewed beer is a great gift or a good excuse to have friends over and enjoy a few beers.

Have fun with it and enjoy the end results, responsibly of course!



10 Common Mistakes New Home Brewers Make


From Paste Magazine (Click Here for Full Article):

Home brewing is booming. As brick and mortar brew shops pop up across the country, and beginner kits become more available, it’s never been easier for novices to get in on the home brewing action. But just because home brewing is accessible, doesn’t make it easy. Brewing takes an understanding of chemistry and some patience. You aren’t Walter and Jessie making that sweet, sweet Blue Sky, but Walt’s meticulous nature is a must if you want to brew. While you might not reach 99.1 percent purity on the first batch, you will get a good handle on what to do, and what not to do.

I’ve brewed batches that have been great, and batches where I cut corners and the finished product suffered. I learned a lot in my first few attempts, and there are at least 10 mistakes you should be on the lookout for if you want to avoid or minimize those beginner blues.

1) Lack of Cleanliness
This is perhaps the biggest mistake every new brewer makes. While I highly suggest buying an introductory kit for your first brew, it does come with a big flaw. The cleanser included in most kits just doesn’t clean well enough. Use boiling water and household dishwashing soap, then use the kit’s cleanser. It might be tedious work, but an immaculate brew barrel or carboy will end with a better tasting beer.

2) Lack of Patience
This is the part I have the most trouble with, but it is necessary. Yeast needs time to do its job, and taking beer out too early or moving it to the second stage too quickly will result in bad tasting beer. Or worse, the yeast and carbonation could build up in the bottle and pop the tops. For beginners, it’s best to keep the beer in the fridge for two weeks to allow the beers to carbonate.

3) Taking shortcuts
Follow the kit’s directions to a “T.” Brewing is a process that takes the better part of a day, so make sure you have enough time put aside to brew so you’re not tempted to take any shortcuts.

4) Using stale or expired ingredients
When I go to brew, it’s usually a process that begins a week or two in advance. To maximize the taste potential, you need to purchase fresh ingredients. The ingredients (hops, grains, malts, etc.) that come with the kit are good to go upon receiving them. However, in many cases, you will have to refrigerate yeast immediately. Waiting too long to use your ingredients will cause them to go stale, leading to bad tasting beer.

5) Fluctuating temperatures
When waiting for the yeast to do its work, you will need to store your batch. Find a place in your home where the temperature doesn’t reach extremes. I would suggest not storing the batch in the garage, since the temperature there can swing wildly one way or the other. Too hot or too cold can speed or slow the yeast, resulting in the beer not fermenting properly.

6) Not keeping to the yeast calendar
You shouldn’t open your batch too soon or too far after the time runs out on your yeast calendar. Being patient is the key, and being a stickler to the calendar is also helpful.

7) Using bad water
Never use your city’s tap water when brewing. There are additives and a whole mess of things floating around in water that you can’t see, and using the freshest, purest water at your disposal will greatly improve the quality of your beer. Use bottled water if you can afford it, but if you can’t, boil your tap water to kill anything that might be floating around. After the boil, it’s wise to let it cool down with a lid on before moving forward.

8) Trying too much on your first batch
Starting out with a simple beer kit might not be a whole lot of fun, but it’s the right call. Never try to do too much in your first batch or it will not turn out the way you had hoped, and might discourage you from future brewing. My first batch was an amber brew that took a month from start to finish. More adventurous beers will take three to four months from start to finish. Keep it simple on the first batch and you’ll get an idea of what to expect from future batches, and give you the confidence to try something harder next time.

9) Burning the malt extract. This was the first major mistake I made when brewing my first batch. The kits come with a malt extract, and it is a great way to get the flavor while avoiding the time it would take to make your own extract. But when you are using your boil pot, be sure to take it off the burner when adding the malt. Too much heat can cause the malt to clump in the bottom of the pot and burn. Stir the malt in evenly off the stove to avoid the burning. Don’t throw it all in at once.

10) Boiling over the wort
Sam Adams has worked its way from a small craft brewery to one of the largest independent breweries in the country. In a commercial describing how staff competes in a brew contest, there is a shot of a pot boiling over and onto the stove. That is a very common mistake when boiling the wort. It is a delicate creature, the wort, and it will boil over at a moment’s notice. Keep your eyes on the pot at all times to avoid a sticky cleanup.

Southern Ontario Brewers (SOB) 5th Annual Learn 2 Brew — Saturday November 2nd, 2013


Details from the Website:


Want to see how to make your own beer?
Toronto’s largest homebrewing club can show you how!

Learn 2 Brew Day occurs on the first Saturday in November,
when new, and not so new homebrewers around the world
are encouraged to learn how to brew or teach someone how to brew.

We’ll have onsite homebrewing demonstrations by over twenty different brewers,
each with their own unique style and approach.
Learn how to brew, to build a setup to match your needs, and budget!

Saturday, November 2nd from 10am until 6pm
45 Esandar Drive
(Google maps –

If you can make macaroni and cheese, you can homebrew; it’s that simple.

SOB_weblogo copy

If you’re interested in learning more about making beer at home,
plan to attend the FIFTH annual “Are You An SOB?” Learn 2 Brew event.



Beau’s Oktoberfest & Members of Barleyment Annual Homebrew Competition – 2013 Winners


Thank you all for participating in this year’s MoB & Beau’s Oktoberfest Competition! We received 182 entries from across Canada – with approximately 60 entries from the Ottawa area! Thanks also to our sponsors: Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Covered Bridge Brewing, Ontario Beer Kegs, and Defalco’s. Also, many thanks to all the judges, stewards, and volunteers – without them, this would not have been possible.


For the BJCP (aka Best in Show) competition:
1st Place Best-in-Show: Commercial batch of beer at Beau’s and name on the Beau’s cup
2nd Place Best-in-Show: Sweatshirt and two glasses from Covered Bridge Brewing; 5 gallon keg from
3rd Place Best-in-Show: T-shirt and two glasses from Covered Bridge Brewing; 5 gallon keg from
4th Place Best-in-Show: $40 gift card from Defalco’s
5th Place Best-in-Show: $40 gift card from Defalco’s

All (collapsed) Category winners: A glass from Covered Bridge Brewing
All 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place (collapsed) category finishers will receive handsome Members of Barleyment medals.

For the People’s Choice competition:
1st Place: $250 gift certificate for merchandise from Beau’s and name on the Beau’s cup
2nd Place: 5 gallon keg from
3rd Place: 3 gallon keg from

We are working hard to get the judging sheets back to all the entrants. Medals and prizes will be shipped after the second week of November.

Thanks once again and we look forward to your participation in next year’s event!



1st Place: Jared Carlberg – “Goat of Mendes” Doppelbock (Winnipeg Brewbombers)
2nd Place: Kent Courtice – “Saison Marpole” Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (Vanbrewers)
3rd Place: Jared Carlberg – “Holzwickeder Lagerbier” Dortmunder Export (Winnipeg Brewbombers)
4th Place: Chris Lynk – “Landover Kölsch” Kölsch (MoB)
5th Place: Mitch Petty – “Blame it on the Rain” American Pale Ale (MoB)

People’s Choice @ Beau’s Oktoberfest 2013 – October 4-5

1st: Place: Joe Rancourt – “Death Dealer Rye IPA” Specialty – Rye IPA (MoB)
2nd: Place: Jeff Manol – “Muddy York Porter” Brown Porter (Southern Ontario Brewers)
3rd: Place: Kristopher Cote – “Dog Days Saison” Saison (MoB)


For more results, continue reading.

Continue reading

PicoBrew launches Kickstarter Campaign for Microwave-like Automated Home Brew System

“There’s no art” in traditional homebrewing, but apparently there is in pressing one button on an automated microwave brewery (watch the video). This looks like a terrible idea to us. Another over-priced novelty kitchen product. What do you think?

Article from Geekwire:

Ex-Microsofties are kicking ass on Kickstarter with high-tech beer-brewing machine

Meet the PicoBrew Zymatic, the the world’s first fully automatic all-grain beer brewing system.

Brewing your own craft beer at home is a difficult, complicated and time-consuming process. Now, two former Microsoft veterans want to help you make a perfect glass of beer in less than an hour and with a push of a button.

picobrew4In what is probably one of the more badass Kickstarter campaigns we’ve seen, a Seattle-based company called PicoBrewhas developed what they call the world’s first fully automatic all-grain beer brewing system that’s the size of a microwave.

The PicoBrew Zymatic basically allows you to have a full-scale brewery on your kitchen countertop. The device is simply a brewing box connected by hose to a Cornelius keg.

To make beer, you pour in your desired amount of malted barley, hops and water, then push a couple buttons to set a recipe. Three-and-a-half hours later, that water turns into beer. All you need to do is add yeast and let your new concoction ferment for a week and voila — you’ve got great-tasting craft beer at your disposal.

“It is, essentially, an espresso-maker for beer,” Bill Mitchell said in the Kickstarter video below.

Continue reading