The German Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot was written by Bavarian noblemen in the year 1516. The law states that only water, barley and hops may be used to brew beer. Yeast was added to the list when scientists discovered the fermenting agent centuries later. Now beer is brewed with other ingredients which can include wheat, rye,  spices, whiskey, oranges, and a bacteria, Brettanomyces.


Homebrewing ingredients

Water is the largest ingredient by volume.  The hardness and alkalinity of the water affect the styles of beer that can be brewed.  Water impacts beer in three ways. Water ions are critical in the mashing process for all grain brewers, where the character of the water determines the efficiency and flavor of the extracted wort. Water also affects the perceived bitterness and hop utilization of finished beer. Finally, water adds flavor directly to the beer itself – as water is the largest single component in finished beer.  The effect of brewing water on beer can be characterized by six main water ions: Carbonate, Sodium, Chloride, Sulfate, Calcium and Magnesium.

 Probably the most emulated brewing water is that of Burton-on-Trent, England, home of classic pale-ale brewers such as Bass. It has a lot of sulfate and calcium in it plus a fair amount of chloride. This makes ideal brewing water for light ales. Another highly replicated brewing water is from Pilsen, the Czech town known for pilsner-style lagers. This water source is notably lacking in calcium, sulfates, and other ions. These two waters represent the extremes of brewing water. The Burton water is excessively hard and the Pilsen water is exceedingly soft.

 More information :

Pilsner-Urquell (Soft water lager) -  - 4.4% ABV 33 IBUs 4 SRM

People's Pilsner - This beer is a twist on the Northern German Style Pilsner also known as Dortmunder or Export Style. These beers make use of hard water just like in Lafayette. For that reason more malt was used and just enough hops to balance the beer. Rather than change the locally raised water we have added some Caramalt to our Pilsner malt bill to give this beer some malt character. We've chosen Santium hops, which have a slightly spicy character, in a very simple hop schedule. The result is a clean-finishing Pilsner beer, unique to the Lafayette area and our wonderful local water. - 4.5% ABV 42 IBUs

 Yeast is used to convert the sugars in the wort to alcohol.

  •  Brewer’s yeast (genus: Saccharomyces) is a type of fungus that consumes fermentable sugars in the wort and excretes alcohol and CO2, a process known as fermentation.
  • One of the main differences between beer styles comes from the type of yeast used. Pitching two different types of yeast in the same wort can create drastically different beers.
  • In addition to alcohol and CO2, different yeasts can produce other compounds, including esters, fusel alcohols, ketones and various phenolics and fatty acids.
  • Brewer’s yeast comes in liquid or dry form. Liquid yeast usually comes in a vial or smack pack, while dry yeast comes in a small packet. Yeast can also be purchased for propagation, a more advanced method.
  • Ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a top-fermenting yeast that thrives at temperatures ranging from about 60-85°F (15.5-29.4°C), and goes dormant when temperatures dip below about 55°F (12.8°C).
  • Lager yeast (Saccaromyces carlsbergenis) is a bottom-fermenting yeast that can work in environments with temperatures as low as 40°F (4.4°C). Some types of lager yeast can be fermented at ale temperatures, which is used in the California common style.

 Lager - Negro Modelo (Vienna Lager) - 6.0% ABV 24 IBUs 13 SRM

 Ale - Bell’s Best Brown (American Brown Ale) - ABV 30 IBUs 27 SRM

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Malt is malted barley.  Raw, brewing-grade barley undergoes a germination and kilning process by malt manufacturers to prepare it for brewers. In other words, malt is barley that has been sprouted and dried.

The sugars in the malted barley are extracted when a porridge or mash is made of the milled grains.  The liquid extracted from this mash is called wort.  This can be done at home from whole grains or the extract can be purchased either as dried malt extract (DME) or a thick syrup called liquid malt extract (LME).  Malt extract is the concentrated sugars extracted from brewing-grade malted barley. Extract allows brewers to skip the mashing process required when brewing with grains.

 Various types of malt extract are available, such as pale, wheat and amber. The specific type to be used in a brew will depend on the style of beer.

 Base malts, such as Pale and Pilsner malt, must be processed to extract the fermentable sugars necessary for creating beer. This process is already completed in malt extracts, but all-grain brewers must conduct a mash to convert starches to fermentable sugars.

 Specialty malts (e.g., chocolate malt), don’t require a mashing process and are used to add flavor and color to beers. Utilizing specialty malts is a relatively easy way to add more depth and character to extract brews.

 Unmalted grains such as oats, wheat or roasted barley are sometimes used in the brewing process as well.

Upland Bad Elmer’s Porter - The porter style takes its name from the dock workers and street laborers of London who favored the style in the days when it was first developed in the 18th century. In the spirit of these hardworking men, Bad Elmer personifies the hardy settlers of the rugged and heavily wooded land of the Norman and Crawford Uplands of southern Indiana. Bad Elmer’s Porter is a medium-bodied beer, brewed with lots of roasted malt, giving it flavors of coffee, liquorice, and chocolate. This porter is characteristically dark but extremely smooth. -  5% ABV 30 IBUs 63 SRM

People’s Farmer’s Daughter – Wheat - American Style Wheat Ale. Refreshing crisp beer made with 60% malted wheat and lemongrass, resulting in a grassy wheat flavor with hints of citrus. We used our Midwest malted Harrington malt, caramalt, malted wheat, and Perle hops. Well balanced beer for the end of a long days work, light and refreshing.  4.2% ABV 17 IBUs


Hops are the green, cone-shaped “flower” of the hop plant that are used to add balance, flavor and aroma to beer.

  •  There are more than 100 different hop varieties today, and specific hops are used for each beer style. For example, Cascade hops give American pale ales their distinct citrusy quality, while Fuggle hops have an earthiness, common in English-style ales.
  • Hops contain two substances of primary interest to brewers: alpha and beta acids, which provide bitterness and aromatic oils, respectively.
  • Bittering hops, or kettle hops, are added at the beginning of the boil and used to instill bitterness in beer that will balance the sweetness of malt. The heat of the boil causes a chemical change called isomerization, which allows the formerly non-bitter, insoluble resins of hops to become highly bitter and dissolve into the wort.
  • Flavoring hops are added in the middle of the boil and will instill some bitterness and hop flavor.
  • Aromatic hops, or finishing hops, are added in the final minutes of the boil. Little to no bitterness is added from finishing hops, but the aromas are retained.
  • Dry hopping is a technique where hops are added to the fermentation vessel after fermentation is complete. Because there is no heat involved, no bitterness and little flavor will be added, but a strong hop aroma is instilled.
  • Hops are also a preservative, making them a popular herb in beer throughout history.
  • Hops come in three forms. Whole hops are unaltered after they are removed from the bine (hops grow on bines not vines). Pellet hops are processed and resemble rabbit food. Hop plugs are similar to pellets, but a bit bigger. Each form has its pros and cons in brewing.

More information:

Founder’s Centennial IPA – (Single hop) Get ready to bask in the glory of the frothy head’s floral bouquet. Relish the citrus accents from the abundance of dry hopping. This one’s sweet, yet balanced. Malty undertones shake hands with the hop character for a finish that never turns too bitter. - 7.2% ABV  65 IBUs ~10 SRM

Goose Island IPA - Pilgrim, Styrian Golding Celeia, Cascade, Centennial hops -  5.9% ABV 55 IBUs ~9 SRM


More Information

 Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) -

BeerAdvocate -

Rate Beer -

American Homebrewers Association -

Brewers Association -

Tippecanoe Homebrewers’ Circle -

CAMRA, Campaign for Real Ale -                     

Drinking Quotes  -

If you don't drink homebrew in the morning... You CAN'T drink homebrew ALL day!!

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline; It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.  - Frank Zappa

 He was a wise man who invented beer. - Plato

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benjamin Franklin

 People who drink light "beer" don't like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot. - Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI

Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer. - Dave Barry

You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on. - Dean Martin

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemmingway

 Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink. - Lady Astor to Winston Churchill

 Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it. - His reply.

 Work is the curse of the drinking class. - Oscar Wilde

 When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.  - Henny Youngman

 There can't be good living where there is not good drinking. - Benjamin Franklin

 The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind. - Humphrey Bogart

 A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her. -W.C. Fields

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. - Frank Sinatra


Prepared for Westminster Village - Beer Tasting Workshop 9/23/14

© Tippecanoe Homebrewers Circle Prepared by Nancy & Carl Hartman available at