Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brewing Websites: The Mad Fermentationist

I first heard of Michael Tonsmeire, The Mad Fermentationist when he was a guest on Basic Brewing a couple of years ago. I was struck by the level of "geekyness" that Michael exhibited during that interview, and in subsequent ones. All of us homebrewers are geeky in our own ways. Some people really enjoy making their own equipment, some like to explore styles or clone commercial beer, but Michael's passion is one of the most basic and fundamental parts of our hobby - yeast and bacteria. These microscopic organisms convert naturally-occurring or artificially-created sugars into alcohol and are the basic building blocks for beer and other fermented beverages.

The Mad Fermentationist blog is an entertaining and insightful look at anything fermentable. This includes anything from sourdough bread, to brett, to kombucha. Michael's particular interest is in homebrewing sour beer. He has a variety of posts that outline homebrewing methods that range from using commercially available sour bacteria, to growing cultures from the dregs of bottle-conditioned beer, to using cultures impregnated in full-size oak barrels.

While I have not personally brewed a sour beer, I find the information that Michael presents very interesting. Some of my favorite posts include:
  • Brewing Sour Beer at Home - This post is a compilation of the "how to" homebrew sour beer articles that Michael has posted over the last three years.
  • Testing the Alcohol Content of Ice Concentrated Beer - Ever think that some people are beyond obsessed? This post shows how crazy a homebrewer's analysis lab can become.
  • Wine Barrel Flanders Red - This post is one of several about Michael's group of friends that age sour beers in full-sized oak barrels. Check out this follow-on post and it's time-lapse video. Very cool.
  • Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy - Another one of of Michael's full barrel experiments, though this one was intended to not become sour. Unfortunately, it soured after about a year, most likely because it was located directly next to the Flanders Red barrel.
  • 11 Different Sugars - This post is just one of several that Michael has done on different brewing sugars.
  • Recipe Compendium - This post provides links to the recipes that Michael has posted over the years.
I encourage you to check out the wealth of information found on The Mad Fermentationist site. Hopefully, you will find it as insightful and informative as I have found it.

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