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How Seasonal Beers Are Made

How Seasonal Beers Are Made

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably learned a little bit about some of the seasonal beers that you can make at home with your own beer brewing kit. While it’s actually pretty easy to make these or any other style of beer using a homebrew kit, it may interest you to know a little bit more about how these seasonal favorites are made. If you happen to be up for a bit of a bigger project than usual, you can of course give these a try the old fashioned way – but of course you may just want to expand your base of brewing knowledge and make things easy on yourself by using a beer brewing kit and ready-made malt extracts and other ingredients to make these classic brews. As our examples, we’ll use four seasonal favorites.

Maibock (Spring)

This lighter cousin to traditional bock beer is made using the same four ingredients as most other brews: malted barley, hops, yeast and water. This is a lager-style beer, meaning that it is made using bottom-fermenting yeasts and allowed to ferment more slowly at a cooler temperature than are ales. The longer brewing allows this spring seasonal to reach its slightly higher than alcohol content (usually 6.5% to slightly over 7% by volume).

Wheat Beer (Summer)

As the name implies, wheat beers are made using wheat in the place of some of the malted barley usually found in beer – and of course, barley is still present in these beers as well, with some exceptions. Other than the obvious difference in ingredients, wheat beers are generally brewed as ales, using top-fermenting yeasts and go through a shorter brewing process and at a higher temperature than do lagers. In many cases, summer wheat beers are also brewed using spices and fruit ingredients, usually lemon or orange peels to give their flavors a refreshing citrusy note.

Oktoberfest Beer (Autumn)

Also known as Marzen (March) beer, this style was traditionally brewed in March, then cellared throughout the summer. As it always has, the appearance of Oktoberfest beer welcomes autumn with its refreshing, yet warm flavors. This beer is a classic German-style lager, bottom fermented slowly in a cool place, traditionally a cellar. The ingredients are the malted barley, yeast, hops and water you’ll find in most other beers – it’s the long fermenting process and cellaring which make this beer special.

Winter Warmer (Winter)

These strong winter ales are made using darker roasted malts (though not quite as dark as you’ll find in a porter, for instance) and have a pronounced malty flavor with a hint of sweetness and an alcoholic kick which make them perfect candidates for a late autumn to early winter beer brewing kit project. These are top-fermented beers whose dark roasted, almost caramelized malts give them their warm tastes and higher alcohol content – absolutely perfect for a cold winter’s evening.
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