Beer and homebrewing

Beer reviews

My enthusiasm towards beer concerns not only the beverage itself, but the long traditions and culture behind it.  As of 2017, I have personal records from over 1000 different beers, encompassing well over 50 different beer styles. Some of the reviews are available online, please see my profile at Olutopas and Ratebeer for more details. In 2010, I was elected as the Beer Wiki Writer of the year by readers of Olutopas.info.

What is the best beer in the world? That is a question that I face quite often, but for which I never seem to have an answer. In my opinion, it is not really even an answer that would be worth pursuing. There are incredibly many beers in the world - some better, some worse - and for me it seems that most beers are good at least for a specific occasion, be it a grill party, sauna or a beer tasting session. What distinguishes a great beer from a mediocre one is that drinking a great beer is a meaningful occasion per se.

However, there are certainly few rules of thumb that are good to know. For instance, not much can be said about beer that is not served in a glass, and it is neither appropriate nor fair to judge - let alone to review - such a beer. Bottles and cans are simply not designed for drinking; their primary function is to serve as a container and to look attractive.

Another rule of thumb is that colour and taste are two different things. So forget the colour! A dark beer can be sweet, dry, hopped, malty, fruity, clear, hazy or anything  inbetween; same applies  to pale beers.  The most common method of categorising beers is to group them based on brewing techniques and ingredients. The three main categories of beer are top-fermenting, bottom-fermenting and spontaneously fermenting beers, which are the often called ales, lagers and lambics, respectively.

Since beers are made from barley malt by default, the use of other malts happens often in combination with barley malt. Wheat beers, rice beers and rye beers are all practically relevant categories, but propably the most popular of such beer styles are the wheat beers. For more refined categorisation one must also consider the regional traditions and naming conventions. For instance, it is common to make a distinction between German Weizenbier (or Weißbier) and Belgian Witbier

Different beer styles also serve somewhat different purposes in different countries. Bitters and Pale Ales are more or less a beer speciality in  Continental Europe, but commonplace in the UK and in the US. In the Czech Republic, the light yet relatively bitter Pilsener is served in large glasses as the standard beer, but in the adjacent Bavaria Pilsener is speciality beer served in small glasses. These are just few examples.

Texts and publications

  1. V.-V. Visuri, "Pienpanimo-oluista vientituote", Helsingin sanomat, March 20, 2016. [View publication]
  2. V.-V. Visuri, "Vertailussa kotimaiset premium-lagerit", OAOS julkaisuja 1/2015. [View publication]
  3. V.-V. Visuri, "Nelosoluen vapauttaminen parantaisi olutkulttuuria", Helsingin sanomat, March 6, 2013. [View publication]
  4. V.-V. Visuri, "Vertailussa Oktoberfestoluet", OAOS julkaisuja 1/2013. [View publication]
  5. V.-V. Visuri, "Vertailussa baijerilaiset suodattamattomat vehnäoluet", Ylkkäri - Oulun ylioppilaslehti, vol. 52, no. 5, pp. 7, 2012. [View publication]

Homebrewing

Since the beginning of 2017, I have started to learn brewing own beers. So far, I have produced only pale top-fermenting beer styles. The main steps of the brewing process are 1) mashing, 2) wort boiling, 3) primary fermentation, 4) bottling and 5) secondary fermentation.

Associations

In relation to my interest in beers, I am a member of the Oulun akateeminen olutseura (Academic Beer Society of Oulu), Oulun olutseura (Beer society of Oulu) and Suomen olutseura (Beer society of Finland). The Academic Beer Society of Oulu (or OAOS for short) was founded as a society for beer culture at the University of Oulu in 2011. The society was eventually converted into a registered association under the name "Oulun akateeminen olutseura ry" in 2013. Since its foundation I serve as a the Chairman of the association.