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One thing is certain- currently the selection of organic brewing ingredients pales in comparison to the selection of conventionally grown ingredients that is available to home brewers today. This has forced homebrewers dedicated to the organic and environmental cause to be resourceful and creative. The challange to brew organic beer just as good if not better than conventionally brewed beer has made the truly dedicated organic brewer a better brewer. We raise our organic beers in a toast to all brewers who have risen to the challenge and brewed their best. Some have won awards in brewing contests where their organic beers were pitted against beers brewed with the much wider range of malts and hops available to non organic brewers. And for those of you ready to go organic, we hope the following information will help you to succeed in making the conversion to organic without sacrificing the quality of your beer.


Currently there is, sadly enough, just one malt extract available to organic home brewers. As it is a pale unhopped extract it is extremely versatile if you are willing to use a few specialty grains and fresh hops to complete your recipe rather than a pre-hopped "kit in a can". Most experienced brewers agree that adding fresh grains and hops actually makes a better beer, so brewing organic could actually be considered an upgrade from prehopped can kits. Just follow these guidelines for some common substitutions:

Amber malt: add 1/2 pound caramel 60 malt to the recipe

Dark malt: add 1/2 lb. chocolate and 1/4 lb. caramel 120 malt to the recipe

Hops: If kit is pre-hopped, add 1/2 oz. Pacific Gem or 3/4 to 1 oz. Hallertaur hops to the boil (9- 12 HBU, 60 minute boil).



Organic malts are comparable to conventionally grown malts and can be substituted pound for pound in your favorite recipes. If you are an all grain brewer you may find as we have that the starch conversion rate is slightly higher and to be precise you may want to reduce the amount of organic grain by 1 or 2 percent. Specialty malts can often be interchangeable- for instance crystal and caramel are two different terms for the same type of specialty malt. Let your common sense be the guide here. A bit of reading on the basic styles of malt can be very useful. Designing Great Beers is a good written guide to creating your own recipes, and it covers a lot of basic information about ingredients. Brew Your Own Magazine has a good overview of different brewing grains.


Organic hops tend to have a slightly higher alpha acid content so you may want to calculate the IBU's (International Bittering Units) of your recipe and adjust the quantity of hops to achieve the desired bitterness. Below is a short summary of the most popular organic hops and our favorite substitutions:

New Zealand Pacific Gem: 13- 15% AAU. Excellent bittering with a clean pleasant aroma. Subs: Chinook, Columbus, Galena, Horizon, Magnum, Northern Brewer.

New Zealand Hallertaur: 7- 11% AAU. Versatile hop can be used for bittering and aroma. Has a clean flowery aroma. Subs: Liberty, Ultra, Hallertaur Tradition, Centennial, Crystal.

German Spalt Select: 4- 7% AAU. Very refined aroma and flavor, mild and spicy. Subs: Saaz, Tettnanger, Styrian Golding, Willamette.

German Hallertaur Tradition & Mittlefrueh: 4- 7% AAU. Very mild aroma and flavor hops especially good for aroma. Subs: Liberty, Ultra, German Hershbrucker, Mt. Hood.



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