52 Years of Homebrewing with Norm Ryder






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homebrewer Norm Ryder

By the American Homebrewers Affiliation

Norm Ryder has been homebrewing since 1971, and he nonetheless considers himself a scholar of the craft.

“I suppose it’s uncommon to see somebody nonetheless studying after brewing 52 years,” Ryder shares from his house in Ontario, Canada.

We caught up with Norm to listen to about his homebrew journey and his present course of that retains his kegs full and faucets flowing.

Love at First Pint

Norm’s first style of home made beer was throughout a college examine session. “A woman in my class requested me if I wished to strive her husband’s beer,” remembers Ryder. It was one of the best homebrew he’d ever had (on the time).

“What actually piqued my curiosity was {that a} main brewery added his beer to their tasting lineup to determine what recipes they had been going to showcase, and the tasters had been most impressed with the homebrew recipe,” shares Ryder. The recipe used a hopped malt extract discovered on the grocery retailer.

Norm determined to strive making the beer and opted for the sunshine selection since he was a Labatt’s 50 ale fan then. “I feel the true secret was the freshness of the malt extract for the reason that retailer was situated in an space with many European homebrewers.”

After six weeks of conditioning, Norm was in a position to take a look at his wares. The pattern should have been good, as it might be the inaugural brew for a 50+ 12 months homebrewing spree. 

Twin-Brew System Setup

Norm pushed on making batch after batch of homebrew, honing his expertise and enhancing his brew system. Right this moment, he’s not solely nonetheless making beer however doing so in an enormous method.

Norm’s all-grain homebrew system consists of three mash tuns, two boil kettles (21- and 31-gallon), and 5 propane burners. He’s additionally a DIYer, fabricating, customizing, and refurbishing gear to evolve his brewery. “I nonetheless use the capper my mom used on the farm to make grape juice for me as a teenager!”

This assortment of substances is central to the brewing course of that enables Norm to make a number of batches throughout one brew session.

“I are inclined to brew one tried-and-true recipe and one experimental recipe every brew day,” shares Ryder. “I get my brewing concepts from fellow [True Grist] membership members, brewery tasting excursions, and beer magazines.”

This dual-recipe method to brew day retains his 22 kegs full, together with circumstances of bottles conditioning within the fruit cellar. 

Preserving the Beer Pipeline Flowing

Norm has a brewing season and low season, however it’s a year-round course of to make sure his homebrew properly doesn’t run dry.

Within the low season, Norm ensures all his gear is in tip-top form and prepared for use as soon as the Canadian winter begins retreating. Mash tuns and kettles are damaged down, totally cleaned, and sanitized; kegs have their rubber seals changed; the plate chiller is flushed and saved moist.

The checklist of duties is spectacular and could be a frightening degree of consideration for some. However this degree of care retains Norm on high of his sport and enthusiastic about homebrewing.

As brew season approaches in March, the eye shifts to ingredient provides. After inventorying all of the substances left from the earlier season, Norm begins planning practically all of the recipes he’ll be brewing the next 12 months. Utilizing BeerSmith, he is aware of what he’ll want for malt, hops, and yeast.

“I retailer my hops in an upright designated freezer with the 21 hop varieties organized alphabetically. The 36 totally different malts (1,550 kilos) every have a chart taped on the surface of the lid with the beginning weight,” Ryder shares of his near-homebrew store degree of ingredient stock.

“I purchase bricks (500g) of yeast and weigh out five- and ten-gallon parts in ziplock luggage,” says Ryder, who primarily ferments with SafAle US-05 and SafLager W-34/70.

“This process permits me to start out annually able to go,” Ryder shares proudly.

Norm’s Kolsch Recipe

We requested Norm to share certainly one of his tried-and-true recipes that he enjoys homebrewing. “The neighbors maintain clambering for it! Everybody simply loves it, particularly in Kolsch glasses.”

Recipe Particulars

  • Quantity: 11 gallons (41.6 L)
  • Effectivity: 82%
  • Authentic Gravity: 1.048
  • Remaining Gravity: 1.008
  • ABV: 4.8%
  • IBU: 13.4
  • SRM: 4.7


  • Malts
  • 13.5 lb. (6.1 kg) 2-row malt
  • 2 lb. (0.9 kg) White Wheat malt
  • 1 lb. (0.4 kg) CaraPils, Dextrine, or Carafoam
  • 1 lb. (0.4 kg) Wheat flakes, calmly toasted (don’t mill)
  • 0.5 lb (0.2 kg) Honey malt
  • Hops
  • 0.75 oz. (21 g)  Hallertauer hops, 5% a.a. @ 60 min
  • 0.75 oz. (21 g) Hallertauer hops, 5% a.a. @ 20 min
  • 0.75 oz. (21 g) Hallertauer hops, 5% a.a. @ 10 min
  • Yeast
  • SafLager W-34/70 or SafAle US-05 (I take advantage of each with nearly equivalent outcomes)
  • ½ tsp. Yeast Energize @ 15 min
  • Misc
  • 3 hand fulls of rice hulls (in mash tun)
  • 1 Whirlfloc pill @ 15 min


Mash at 154°F (68°C) for 70 minutes. Including within the rice hulls might help forestall a caught mash.

Conduct a 70-minute boil, following the kettle addition timings as listed within the substances.

Ferment at 64°F (18°C) for 4 days. Improve the temperature 1 diploma per day till you hit 68°F (20°C). Maintain for in the future after which set the fermentation chamber temperature to 64°F (18°C). Wait ten days if utilizing US-05 and 14 if you’re utilizing 34/70. The lager yeast simply takes longer!  Let it shine!! 

I take advantage of pure oxygen earlier than I add yeast with the regulator set at 0.5 stream price for 1 minute.

This beer is so tasty it’s essential simply maintain brewing it! Pour right into a Kolsch glass and luxuriate in! Prost!

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