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Looking for good resources on (pro)brewing. Experiences with paid forums.

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beervoid

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So I've been brewing for some time and I've been obsessively gathering information about brewing on the free internet forums but I feel like I've kind of exhausted my resources.

I'm contemplating perhaps joining the Brewers Association, the Home Brewers Association, Zymurgy, BYO etc..
Maybe even taking an online course. For example rockstarbrewer.

I would like to hear from people that joined any of the above or other paid information sources/associations.
Was it worth the money? do you really find more info there then what is available for free?

Any advice as to other resources where I would be able to get more detailed knowledge are welcome as well.

There are unfortunately no brewing schools nor breweries in my country where I could learn.

Cheers!
 
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IslandLizard

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do you really find more info there then what is available for free?
Not often.

What country do you live in? Is alcohol prohibited?

The AHA is more useful when you live in the U.S., and even then...
Their yearly homebrew conference (HomeBrew Con) and GABF are their main attractions, IMO, and can be a wonderful experience. Going there the first time (2013) is when I got really deep into homebrewing. Then possibly some of the archives of presentations from their HomeBrew Cons. Zymurgy is a toss up, once in awhile you get a few good articles, but most content is expendable, brewing tech wise, IMO. None of that stuff is Pro oriented by a long shot.

That said, I don't know what the AHA Pro side has to offer.

Then there is pro and there is Pro. We have a few craft breweries where they brew 2-3 times a week on 2-5 barrel systems, using 5-10 barrel fermentors. Then there are craft outfits that crank out 100s or even 1000s of barrels a day all year long, complete with centrifuges, automated bottling and canning lines, etc.

Although there are exceptions, most brew classes generally are not worth the money, again, IMO. The more expensive, the less you get. 95% goes to travel, lodging, fees, compensation, etc. and 5% or less to actual "hands on" and "take home" learning and experience. A few days brewing with other homebrewers can be just as enlightening as you see different methods and process approaches. Big Brew and National Homebrew Day here in the U.S. and elsewhere are great events. So is a $15-25 brewing class at your (local) homebrew store if taught by an accomplished homebrewer, not an equipment vendor.

In addition to HBT, there are Pro brewing forums. Brewing, reading, studying (e.g., brewing theory/process books), talking to or working with other brewers and breweries should get you very far. Working in a brewery really helps learning the pro side of brewing, and the most common way to get your foot in the door is being able to drive a forklift, or have a degree in microbiology, etc. not your ability to brew, that's already taken care of (in most cases). Just don't open valves or push buttons unless you really know what you're doing. ;)
 

Sadu

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Go ask some small breweries if you can help out on a brewday. Smaller the better, as big places everything is more automated and while interesting, there is less to do and learn. Pros can have very different opinions on things to home brewers. I've done this with 3 different breweries and learned a bunch of stuff each time.
Also, makes you really appreciate how easy it is to clean homebrew gear.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Any advice as to other resources where I would be able to get more detailed knowledge are welcome as well.
In addition to new resources, have you considered following people (authors, presenters, researchers) and getting access to the articles / presentations that these people provide? Who are your trusted sources for hops? yeast? water? malts? Where are they writing? publishing? speaking?

I'm contemplating perhaps joining the Brewers Association, the Home Brewers Association, Zymurgy, BYO etc. Maybe even taking an online course. For example rockstarbrewer.
As @IslandLizard noted, AHA makes HomeBrew Con presentations available to members. Non-members can see a paragraph summary of each of the presentations. https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/seminars/. Zymurgy is the magazine that AHA publishes, so it's also part of the membership. With an AHA membership, back issues (2000 to present) are available in digital format. I have an AHA membership & I'll likely renew it.

As of early fall 2018, BYO had magazine subscriptions and digital subscriptions. It appears that they take a different approach to content. For the digital subscription, articles are in "web page" format (not magazine format). Content is apparently updated periodically (see the bottom of https://byo.com/ ):

For over two decades Brew Your Own magazine has earned the respect of homebrewers worldwide with our mix of how-to content in the hobby's largest paid circulation publication. Digital members now have access to thousands of these tested and reviewed recipes, techniques, and projects and complete access to recent and current issues of Brew Your Own magazine as well as our Special Issue library. The majority of this updated homebrewing content is being released digitally here for the first time to our digital members.
This approach for content is, in my mind, neither good or bad. Just be aware that BYO digital content (in early fall 2018) does not offer full back issues. I had both a digital and magazine subscription and neither will be renewed in 2018. Why? At the moment, I'm not getting anything useful out of either subscription.

Brew with other people.
Agreed - especially if you brew with different groups of people who offer conflicting information. There is no "best way" to brew - but there are many good ways to have fun brewing.
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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Unfortunately as posted above there are no breweries here where I can go and work and learn nor are there any home brewers in my area, I live in a very quiet mountain village in asia.

So i'm looking for what would be the best resource next to all the great free stuff on this and other forums.

I'm quiet familiar with lots of authors, eg Stan Hieronymus, Scott Janish etc.. Been through the probrewer forum and read countless of books.

I'm really looking for delving deeper into the mechanics of brewing to prepare brewing on a bigger setup. I've encountered info at times that was locked behind passwords..
I'm also very interested to read scientific pieces on brewing.

Thanks for all the info. For now it seems the AHA with back catalogue to all the presentations sounds like a good deal.
Are the homebrewers association and the brewers association affiliated?
The brewers association seems to be for pro brewers and their forum is locked.
Im wondering now if this might be a better resource for me or thats its mostly for commercial breweries with networking capabilities and commercial resources..
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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In addition to new resources, have you considered following people (authors, presenters, researchers) and getting access to the articles / presentations that these people provide? Who are your trusted sources for hops? yeast? water? malts? Where are they writing? publishing? speaking?
I'm familiar with some but never found one with paid access. Apart from scientific journals that sometimes need membership.
Could you suggest some?
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I'm familiar with some but never found one with paid access. Apart from scientific journals that sometimes need membership.
Could you suggest some?
I'm quiet familiar with lots of authors, eg Stan Hieronymus, Scott Janish etc.. Been through the probrewer forum and read countless of books.
Hop Queries is an interesting newsletter.
 

Phunhog

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Try probrewer.com. Lots of great information that relates to commercial brewing.
 

IslandLizard

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Just for clarity, are you currently brewing, yourself?

I would think that's the best way to learn the various processes, aided by implementing what you've read or studied.
Also brewing with other brewers, and hopefully with (pro) breweries to really learn what it takes.

Let me try to be clear(er) too.
When it comes to the AHA as an organization or any other "brewing" related organization out there, they don't teach you how to brew, neither does any of the magazines out there. None are interactive in any way, or much on the cutting edge of actual developments in brewing and updated processes. These organizations and magazine publishers have different agendas, mostly commercial but sometimes sheer political, the AHA being the main lobby for homebrewing, the BA as a lobby for the Pro Brewer, etc. No matter what they do, they all fulfill a function with that or they wouldn't exist.

Anyway, those organizations are not going to do much for you out there trying to open a brewery somewhere in rural Asia.

If I were in your place, I'd rather rely on forums, like ours (HBT), Probrewer, blogs, and whatever else you can find that applies to your brewing needs and interests. Although you may want to or have to go as deep as learning to malt your own grain and growing hops, for example, it would be much better finding (reliable) resources for ready to go base ingredients through networking instead of spreading your efforts wide but thin. Networking is a powerful tool.

Look at what this guy did (and still does): Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales.
A good example of a successful "gypsy brewer."
 

kevin58

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Is there a homebrew club near you? Join it. If there is not, start one. Or at the very least invite a few fellow homebrewers over the next time you brew and hang out. You will learn a lot more that way.
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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Hey all, yes I've been brewing a lot and i'm pretty happy with my beers atm. I'm just looking for more resources as I love to spend time learning and reading instead of killing it in front of the TV (which I don't understand anyway)

A contract brew session is coming up as well in Europe and besides being there to help with the process I'd like to read up on it as well.

Cheers
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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Just wanted to share the masterbrewerspodcast.com has been a nice resource and the master brewers association seems like a good alternative to join as well
 
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Sounds like you are already very well read, but there are a lot of great books from Brewers Publications

The Brewing Ingredients series is fantastic. (Hops, Malt, Water, and Yeast) Some of it is over my head and a tough read, but I find the books great as a reference when I want to know something.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Basic Brewing Radio episode "November 1, 2018 - IBUs vs Wort Gravity and Hop Stand Temps" may be worth a listen.
 
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