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Denny Conn Papers, 1998-2017

By Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Mary Williams

Collection Overview

Title: Denny Conn Papers, 1998-2017

Predominant Dates: 2005-2017

ID: MSS Conn

Primary Creator: Conn, Denny

Extent: 7.34 gigabytes. More info below.

Arrangement: The Denny Conn Papers are arranged into five series: 1. Published Books, 2006-2017; 2. Presentations, 2008-2017; 3. Research and Writing, 1998-2017; 4. Audio and Video, 2015-2017; 5. Photographs, 1999-2016; 6. Experimental Brewing Website, 2019.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2017

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


Denny Conn is a homebrewer, author, educator, and advisor in the Oregon brewing community. The Denny Conn Papers is an all electronic collection and consists of born-digital materials (.mp3, video, documents, websites) and items digitized by Conn. These materials document Conn's work, including documentation related to Conn's two books Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer (2014) and Homebrew All-Stars: Top Homebrewers Share Their Best Techniques and Recipes (2016).

Scope and Content Notes

The Denny Conn Papers is an all electronic collection and consists of born-digital materials (.mp3, video, documents, websites) and items digitized by Conn. These materials document Conn's work, including documentation related to Conn's two books Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer (2014) and Homebrew All-Stars: Top Homebrewers Share Their Best Techniques and Recipes (2016), which he co-authored with Drew Beechum. Topics represented in the collection are files related to the publication of his books (outlines and drafts, research, recipe experiments and evaluation, and photos), class and conference presentations, audio and video files of lectures and podcasts, photographs of brewing systems and equipment, and research files (recipe design, Decoction Mashing, First Wort Hopping).

Conn created and assembled materials that document his work as an educator, advisor, and member of professional groups such as the American Homebrewers Association and the Cascade Brewers Society, a Eugene-based club devoted to the appreciation and art of creating beer, mead, cider, and wine. Included are articles, speeches, and materials related to his advocacy for Senate Bill 444, which expanded the exemption of homemade beer, wine, and fermented fruit juice from the Liquor Control Act. This collection also includes materials related to recipe design and evaluation, as well as his work on First Wort Hopping (a process in which a large portion of finishing hops is added to the boil kettle as the wort is transferred from the mash or lauter tun) and Decoction Mashing (a process to conduct multi-step mashes without adding additional water or applying heat to the mash tun). Of special note are drafts, legal documents, research, and correspondence from Experimental Homebrewing and Homebrew: All-Stars, which focus on homebrewing techniques for diversifying beer flavors and forms.

This collection also contains photographs and audio/video files created or collected by Conn. The photographs include pictures of Conn; other homebrewers; and homebrewing materials, equipment, and techniques. The video and audio recordings are instructional videos and episodes of Conn and Beechum’s podcast “Experimental Homebrewing.”

Of special note is the preservation of the Experimental Brewing website, which was crawled in 2019 using Archive-It. It documents Conn's work with Beechum, including blog posts; information on experiments, recipes; books; and audio podcasts and transcripts.

Physical and electronic records are available for use in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center reading room.

Physical copies of the books will be cataloged separately in the SCARC book collection.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Denny Conn is a homebrewer, author, educator, and advisor in the Oregon brewing community.

He was born in 1952 in the small town of Newton, Iowa. From a young age, Conn expected he’d take over the family-run lumberyard, but ultimately took a different path. After graduating from high school, he attended Iowa State University to study Chemistry, later switching his major to English. After graduation, Conn pursued a career in music, touring with a rock n’ roll band, and explored his interest in cooking. Conn moved from Iowa to Eugene, where he and a partner opened a recording studio. That same business partner introduced him to his greatest passion in life: homebrewing.

In 1998, Conn’s wife bought him a kit of equipment and ingredients from Liberty Brewing at Costco; it included Randy Mosher’s Brewers Companion book. Over the next several years, Conn researched and experimented with different techniques on his own, but was also deeply involved in the brewing community through individual friendships and his membership in the Cascade Brewers Society in Eugene. In 2004, Conn became a national judge for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), which was founded in 1985 as an international certifying organization for judges of beer and related fermented products. In 2006, he was elected into the governing committee of the American Homebrewing Association. He also gained broader commercial recognition. His rye beer recipe (RyePA) was the basis for Rogue Ales 15th anniversary beer (Two Tier Bier). The Oregon-based company Wyeast developed and named a yeast after him; Denny’s Favorite Ale (Strain 1450) is a versatile yeast that can be used for almost any beer style.

In 2014, Conn partnered with Drew Beechum to co-author Experimental Brewing. Their personalities and writing styles were unique, and in the book they formed a dialogue through their experiments that was not seen in previous brewing publications. Later, the two created a podcast also named “Experimental Brewing,” which still runs today. In 2016, they decided to partner on a second brewing book entitled Homebrew: All-Stars, which highlighted specific brewers and offered more insight on different types of brewing techniques.

Many have asked Conn why never became a commercial brewer, to which he replies with his mantra: “make the best beer possible, with the least effort possible, while having the most fun possible.”

Author: Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Mary Williams

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1675 files, including 555 digital photographs, 52 audio/video files

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Denny Conn retains the copyright on these materials.

Acquisition Note: The collection was donated by Denny Conn in 2017.

Related Materials:

The Denny Conn Papers are complemented by the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection (OH 35), which includes interviews from industry professionals, journalists and community members. Denny Conn was interviewed May 1, 2017 and it is available online.

The Brewing and Fermentation Collection (MSS BFRC) consists of materials collected by the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center pertaining to the history, growth, and culture of the Pacific Northwest brewing industry, including regional hops and barley farming, commercial craft and home brewing, and craft cider and mead.

Further information regarding the values, logistics, and goals of the burgeoning regional brewing community can be found in organizational collections like the Heart of the Valley Homebrewers Records (MSS HOTV), McMenamins Brewery Collection (MSS McMenamins), and the Ninkasi Brewing Company Collection, 2012-2014 (MSS Ninkasi). The personal research collections of Fred Eckhardt (MSS Eckhardt), Pete Dunlop (MSS Dunlop), Fred Bowman (MSS Bowman), and Robert Daly (MSS Daly) contain additional information regarding the beer writing process and Portland-area beer culture.

Collections linked to Oregon State University research, as well as other manuscript collections are described on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives research guide. More information pertaining to the history of hop growing and brewing in Oregon can be found on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives website.

Preferred Citation: Denny Conn Papers (MSS Conn), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Conn, Denny

People, Places, and Topics

Brewing--Amateurs' manuals.
Brewing industry--Oregon.
Conn, Denny.
Home brewing
Hops and Brewing
Publishers and publishing

Forms of Material

Born digital.
Digital audio formats.
Digital images.
Digital moving image formats.
Digital photographs.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Published Books, 2006-2017
This series is comprised of Conn's book files for the two books, Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer (2014) and Homebrew All-Stars: Top Homebrewers Share Their Best Techniques and Recipes (2016), both co-authored with Drew Beechum. Included are book outlines, drafts, final versions; research files and notes; recipe experiments, data, and evaluation; photos; books covers; administrative materials and contract documents; and food recipes. Size: 1.85 GB for 1,200 files.
Sub-Series 1: Experimental Homebrewing, 2006-2017
Includes book files, photographs of brewing materials and processes, receipe research, correspondence, legal documentation, and drafts for Experimental Homebrewing, co-authored with Drew Beechum. Also included are presentations by Conn and Beechum at the American Homebrew Association conference, as well as conference programming, meeting notes, and related brewing articles from Zymurgy.
Digital Folder 1: Administrative, 2004-2017
The administrative records in this folder include financial records, presentation and publicity items for promoting the book, sales and marketing materials, and planning documents such as recipe templates and book outlines.
Digital Folder 1.1: Financial, 2013-2015
Digital Folder 1.2: Homebrew Con book presentation, 2004-2014
Digital Folder 1.3: Marketing, 2014
Digital Folder 1.4: Planning documents, 2013-2017
Digital Folder 2: Book files, 2006-2014
The book files in this folder include drafts and final edits for chapters, various outlines, final book text and design layout, conference presentations at the American Homebrewing Association, recipe and process research, and articles and pictures gathered by Conn and Beechum.
Digital Folder 2.1: Drafts and edits, 2013-2014
Digital Folder 2.2: Experimental Homebrewing final version, 2014
Digital Folder 2.3: External resources, 2006-2014
In addition to conference materials, in the digital folder "American Homebrewing Association 2006-2013: 2009 Conference: Brut Brewing" there are three short videos. Also of note in the folder "Source articles 2008-2014: Beecher source articles" are articles and recipe ideas from 2008-2014.
Digital Folder 2.4: Layout and design, 2014
Digital Folder 3: Photographs for book, 2013-2014
The photographs in this folder include brewing equipment and supplies pictures used in the book, cover art and other book graphics, and pictures of Conn and his homebrewing space.
Sub-Series 2: Homebrew All-Stars, 2013-2017
Includes book files, photographs of brewing materials and processes, correspondence, legal documentation, and drafts for Homebrew All-Stars, co-authored with Drew Beechum. Also included is biographical information about the homebrewers who contributed to the book, their recipes, and their pictures.
Digital Folder 4: Administrative, 2014-2017
The administrative records in this folder include correspondence with Olan Suddeth, legal documents, permissions and and royalty documents, and sales and marketing materials.
Digital Folder 4.1: Correspondence Olan Suddeth, 2015
Digital Folder 4.2: Legal, 2014-2017
Digital Folder 4.3: Marketing, 2015-2016
Digital Folder 5: Book files, 2013-2016
The book files in this folder include author acknowledgments and biographies, headshot pictures, homebrewer profile drafts and categories, questionnaires and correspondence sent to potential contributors, drafts and final edits for chapters,  final book text and design layout, and research and data (graphs, charts, recipes).
Digital Folder 5.1: Author acknowledgments, 2015
Digital Folder 5.2: Brewers, 2015
Digital Folder 5.3: Brewers questionnaires, 2015-2016
Digital Folder 5.4: Drafts and edits, 2014-2015
Digital Folder 5.5: Layout and design, 2015-2016
Digital Folder 5.6: Research and data, 2013-2016
Series 2: Presentations, 2008-2017
This series documents classes, conferences, and events that Conn has presented at or attended. Included are research materials, graphics and picture files, handouts, and Powerpoint files for various presentations at the National Homebrewing Conference "HomeBrew Con" (2008, 2010-2011), Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference (2016-2017), and Brewniversity (2014). Size: 410.3 MB for 128 files.
Digital Folder 6: Brewniversity class materials, 2014
Digital Folder 7: HomeBrew Con, 2008-2016
Digital Folder 7.1: HomeBrew Con, 2008
Digital Folder 7.2: HomeBrew Con, 2010
Digital Folder 7.3: HomeBrew Con, 2011
Digital Folder 7.4: HomeBrew Con, 2014-2016
Digital Folder 8: Hop and Brew School, 2016
Digital Folder 9: Pacific Northwest Homebrewers Conference, 2016-2017
Digital Folder 10: Presentations general, 2015-2016
Series 3: Research and Writing, 1998-2017
This series includes articles written for newsletters and newspapers, transcripts of public presentations, records of brewing experiments, correspondence related to the Beer Judge Certification Program and research experiments, and testimony and correspondence for Conn's support of Senate Bill 444 in 2011, which expanded the exemption of homemade beer, wine, and fermented fruit juice from the Liquor Control Act. It also contains recipe research, design, and evaluation; tasting notes; First Wort Hopping research; Decoction Mashing research and results; and materials related to his teaching for the Hop and Brew School program in Washington. Size: 64.4 MB for 93 files.
Sub-Series 1: Articles, 1999-2016
This contains articles that are about or written by Denny Conn in different publications, including the Register-Guard.
Sub-Series 2: Business Materials, 2004-2015
Included are speech transcripts for American Homebrewers Association nominations and in support of Senate Bill 444. Also seen are business correspondence and fundraising documents.
Sub-Series 3: Brewing experiments, 1998-2017
This holds documentation from different experiements, including research, recorded findings and report forms.
Digital Folder 11: Brewing experiments, 1998-2017
Digital Folder 12: Decoction Mashing experiments, 1998-2008
Digital Folder 12.1: Tasting and experiment forms, 2005-2006
Digital Folder 12.2: Decoction research, 1998-2008
Digital Folder 12.3: Decoction results, 2005
Digital Folder 13: First Wort Hopping experiments, 1995-2017
Digital Folder 13.1: First Wort Hopping research, 1995-2017
Digital Folder 13.2: First Wort Hopping results, 2007-2008
Series 4: Audio and Video, 2015-2017
This series includes a collection of instructional videos and recordings of the popular "Experimental Brewing" podcast (episodes 1-38); subjects covered include how to apply different brewing techniques such as batch sparging. Size: 4.07 GB for 52 files.
Digital Folder 14: Conn instructional videos, 2015-2016
Digital Folder 15: Experimental Brewing podcast, 2016-2017
Series 5: Photographs, 1999-2016
This series contains photographs Conn collected or took during his homebrewing career. Included are pictures of Conn and others, brewing systems and equipment, a 2015 trip to Brazil, and homebrew labels. Size: 951.8 MB for 202 files.
Digital Folder 16: Brazil trip, 2015
Digital Folder 17: Brewing Equipment, 2014-2016
Digital Folder 18: Labels, 1999-2013
Digital Folder 19: Pictures of Conn, 2011-2015
Series 6: Experimental Brewing Website, 2019
The Experimental Brewing website was crawled in April 2019 using Archive-It. This website documents Conn's work with Drew Beechum, including blog posts by Conn and Beechum, information on experiments and recipes, information about their books, audio podcasts and transcripts, and information about sponsors. The captured and preserved websites are available online.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.